A friend of mine went to his wife and asked for feedback. The next day, I asked him how it went, and he said to me, “I don’t expect she’ll ever give me feedback again.” When she said what she thought, he got angry and defensive, even though he had asked for her opinion.
How do we fare with criticism? Do we listen when we get feedback? Or do we recoil when a friend offers a gentle suggestion, a thoughtful correction, or a blunt critique?
Let’s admit that not all criticism is valid. Sometimes a friend’s or parent’s critique is harmful, mean, or unwarranted. Jill faced this as her mother ripped into her whenever she made the smallest of mistakes. In his fits of rage, Peter would berate and belittle his wife and children. Sally was a perfectionist who couldn’t stand her coworker’s lackluster standards, so she dished out belittling comments.
Proverbs 15:31 says, “The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise.” This wise correction is not damaging or hurtful; it helps. It’s loving in its intention and accurate in its assessment. Though often hard at the time it’s given, it results in more joy or peace.