Dealing with Criticism

By Patrick Andrew Harber, age 14


How do you deal with criticism?


The best ways to start are: 1) stop being concerned about criticism; 2) stop being critical; and 3) start loving. It seems that many people are too self-conscious about criticism and are not willing to grow mentally and spiritually. But according to Merriam-Webster, to "criticize" means "to consider the merits and demerits of and judge accordingly." So, I think the best way to deal with criticism is to look at it as a chance to be a better person.

I accept criticism for what it is. I believe thoughts can do no harm unless believed. We should understand that what others say or think about us is not solid fact but is entirely their own opinion -- no more. What we think about ourselves is more important. Why change the way we are simply because of what someone else thinks? Is it worth it? It's only worth it if it's God's voice speaking to us. In some cases, the person speaking or judging is having a bad day or may not be completely aware of what he/she is doing or saying. So why take the comments so seriously?

It's our job to "love one another" (John 13:34, 15:17).

Throughout his life, Jesus was persecuted and criticized by the Jewish authority. Yet, he was still loving and compassionate. Even on the cross, he said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).

A good lesson on loving others can be found in Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37). In this story, a man is robbed and left half dead. First, a priest walks by and doesn't even glance at him. Next, a Levite comes and at least looks at him…but continues walking on the other side. Then, along comes a Samaritan: he stops, binds his wounds, pours on oil, gives him clothes, and takes him to an inn for food and lodging. He shows mercy towards this poor man. He does not criticize the robbed man. He simply loves.

When we are either confronted with criticism or tempted to criticize others, we can have mercy, forgive, and love. If we love, we won't take or give criticism negatively. We'll be so focused on letting love happen, that we won't be conscious of criticism. Rather, we'll learn to let love live.