Shelve Them and Move On (How to deal with praise - and criticism - with grace)

Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise. Proverbs 15:31

Ok - confession time - I do not deal well with criticism, even when it has the best intentions and comes from a place of genuine love and concern. I’m not sure why this is; I think some of it comes from the defensive posture I learned in grade school when I was picked on by the popular boys in my class. Most of my life I’ve struggled with that little voice that says, “Don’t trust anyone - they’ll only hurt you. Look out for yourself because no one else will.” So when confronted with something I messed up, or facing someone I’ve wronged, my defenses immediately go up.

On the flip side of the coin, I love praise - maybe you do as well. When it comes to God, this can be a problem though - am I seeking his approval, or of that of man? My devotional for today from Our Daily Bread is titled “Shelve Them and Move On”; in it the author shares this truth: Criticism and praise stir in us powerful emotions that, if left unchecked, can lead to either self-loathing or an overinflated ego. Criticism and praise can be effective tools to help deal with blind spots in our lives and build up our spirit, but under the influence of sin they can easily do the opposite as well - puff up our spirit or crush it to powder.

So how do we allow criticism and praise to be tools in the hands of our Heavenly Father? The author of today’s devotional said this:

If we’re on the receiving end of a rebuke, may we choose to be sharpened by it. Proverbs states, “Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise” (Prov 15: 31). And if we’re blessed with words of praise, may we be refreshed and filled with gratitude. As we walk humbly with God, He can help us learn from both criticism and praise, shelve them, and then move on in Him (v. 33).

With God’s help we can see criticism and praise for what they are and then use them properly - tools to help us become more like Christ.