Alfred Poirier summarizes four points:

1. Critique yourself.

How do I typically react to correction?

Do I pout when criticized or corrected?

What is my first response when someone says I’m wrong?

Do I tend to attack the person?

To reject the content of criticism?

To react to the manner?

How well do I take advice?

How well do I seek it?

Are people able to approach me to correct me?

Am I teachable?

Do I harbor anger against the person who criticizes me?

Do I immediately seek to defend myself, hauling out my righteous acts and personal opinions in order to defend myself and display my rightness?

Can my spouse, parents, children, brothers, sisters, or friends correct me?

2. Ask the Lord to give you a desire to be wise instead of a fool.

Use Proverbs to commend to yourself the goodness of being willing and able to receive criticism, advice, rebuke, counsel, or correction. Meditate upon the passages given above: Proverbs 9:9; 12:15; 13:10,13; 15:32; 17:10; Psalm 141:5.

3. Focus on your crucifixion with Christ.

While I can say I have faith in Christ, and even say with Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ,” yet I still find myself not living in light of the cross. So I challenge myself with two questions.

First, if I continually squirm under the criticism of others, how can I say I know and agree with the criticism of the cross?

Second, if I typically justify myself, how can I say I know, love, and cling to God’s justification of me through Christ’s cross?

This drives me back to contemplating God’s judgment and justification of the sinner in Christ on the cross. As I meditate on what God has done in Christ for me, I find a resolve to agree with and affirm all that God says about me in Christ, with whom I’ve been crucified.

4. Learn to speak nourishing words to others.

I want to receive criticism as a sinner living within Jesus’ mercy, so how can I give criticism in a way that communicates mercy to another?

Accurate, balanced criticism, given mercifully, is the easiest to hear—and even against that my pride rebels.

Unfair criticism or harsh criticism (whether fair or unfair) is needlessly hard to hear.

How can I best give accurate, fair criticism, well tempered with mercy and affirmation?

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Justin Taylor


Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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