The Critics in Your Life

They Come to You as Blessing or Lesson

Criticism is a fact of life. You will be criticized. And you will be a critic. I like to borrow a wonderful phrase and apply it to when you are being criticized. 

Some people come into your life as blessings.
Others come into your life as lessons.

Some critics come into your life as blessings.
Others come into your life as lessons.

When your critic cares about you, when the critic is wise and insightful, and offers their criticism in constructive, redeeming, building you up ways - that critic is a blessing. 

When your critic has mixed motives & hidden agendas, when your critic wants to get back at you and put you in your place, when your critic is irritated or worse angry, when your critic does not have all the facts and has made unfair assumptions - that critic is a lesson

When such a person is a lesson - then you need a thick skin and a tender heart. Criticism always hurts and when the critic comes to you as a lesson - you can be sure that criticism is going to hurt. The lesson is to keep your heart tender and soft, humble and teachable, and yet be tough enough that you can absorb their criticism and not be damaged by it.

When your critic is a lesson, the worst thing to do with them is to argue, make excuses, try to set them straight, and get them to see your perspective.

I had a recent situation where I was (and probably still will be) dealing with a critic. In this case, the person is not critical of me, but critical of some things I am oversee. I find they are not very open (that is an understatement) to dialog. They are in a monolog mentality. So I work really hard at not being defensive, or irritated or "critical back atcha" with those critics/lessons.

You see, the critic who is a lesson is a lesson in grace, patience, love, turn the other cheek, work really hard to pay attention and understand where they are coming from. These are lessons in spiritual, relational care.

Then I have more lessons in moving redemptively into their arguments and frustration and trying to help them find wisdom, peace, and some grace on their own part. These are lessons in emotional intelligence.

to avoid criticism quote, Elbert HubbardThen, I may have "time to respond back" and go head to head with the critic. That will be lessons in leadership and communication.

And here is the GREAT PART. If I learn these lessons from the critic who is the lesson - then the critic/lessons is turned into a blessing. Learning, growing, maturing - all this is wonderful blessing. If a critic is the source and cause - praise God from whom all blessings flow.  This is just one more case of God causing all things to work together for the good.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International

BrianRice@lcileaders.org