How do we react to corrective criticism? Do we act with the pride of men to protect our self righteousness?
John 7: 6-8
6 So Jesus *said to them, “My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.8 Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come.”
Remember yesterday we looked at Jesus’ followers telling Him to do things which will get Him recognized. Jesus knew what the hearts of men would accomplish through all this, which is why He stated that it is not yet time for Him to do so. You see, everyone wanted Him to be exalted in the same way others exalted themselves. Jesus knew, however, that when the people “lift Him up,” it would be on a cross.
Why, though, would they hang Him on a cross? Because he testifies against the evil deeds of man. How often do we enjoy hearing that what we are doing is wrong? It is very difficult for us to accept criticism, especially when we are full of pride. This is what has become our own stumbling block.
Instead of being open for refinement or even facing the fact that our own way of thinking or doing things could be wrong, we push back, rejecting everything and therefore isolate ourselves from the world AND God. Our hearts harden and we hold tight to that which we have worked so hard to preserve. We ignore the fact that it isn’t about us being right or wrong. When it becomes about us being right or wrong, we then turn the focus back onto ourselves instead of God, therefore making ourselves the god we serve instead of the One True God.
How do you take criticism? Do you look at it as a personal attack or do you see it as an opportunity to improve yourself? We see this in 2 Thessalonians about Loving Discipline, where Paul instructs the church to discipline those who begin to fall away, not as a punishment but rather as corrective action. It was also understood at the time that it is why punishment was created: corrective action, not retribution. Our society today has steered away from this concept and therefore we feel as if we are being punished or accused of something in order to be punished. We don’t realize that someone may be correcting us or offering a different opinion simply as an alternative, something to think about.
What do we do? We push back and refute it, even if later on we realize they were right. Our pride hardens our hearts and we ignorantly continue on our path, determined to prove ourselves worthy, righteous, or even worse: godly.
How open are you to corrective criticism? How often do you buck against someone offering you a different approach? How has your pride hardened your heart?