We live in a world where we are prone to grossly overstate and embellish the significance of an event or experience. This past college football season multiple commentators said that the So Cal Trojan defense was perhaps, “the greatest ever”. Really? The team with the “greatest defense ever” lost to the Oregon State Beavers? I don’t want to be culpable of joining crowded room of politicians, pastors and professional commentators who tend to make more of the most mundane, ordinary and obvious life experiences and life observations than they should, but this morning I read an article that has the potential to change my life. I tend to think that if I applied the keen wisdom and deep theological insight of this article, if I were to embrace and believe the foundational Scriptural truths that permeate its premise, my heart would be significantly transformed.

Dr. Alfred Poirier writes about the cross and criticism. No one likes to be criticized. Far too much is at stake in criticism. Do you know what it is? Our self-importance is at stake. Our pride is at stake. Our justification is at stake. We would all much rather be praised than criticized. Truthfully, most of us would rather be lied to and be told we are something that we are not than to be confronted with the harsh reality of who we are. And this is what makes criticism a Gospel-issue. I want to encourage you to read the article for yourself. It will be well worth your time to read it, ponder it, meditate on the Scriptures, pray over it, and ask God to be at work in your heart because of it.

One of the things Poirier said that really stood out to me is the truth that the way we receive criticism says something about how we have and are applying the Gospel to our lives.

If I know myself as crucified with Christ, I can now receive another’s criticism with this attitude: “You have not discovered a fraction of my guilt. Christ has said more about my sin, my failings, my rebellion and my foolishness than any man can lay against me. I thank you for your corrections. They are a blessing and a kindness to me. For even when they are wrong or misplaced, they remind me of my true faults and sins for which my Lord and Savior paid dearly when He went to the cross for me. I want to hear where your criticisms are valid.”

The correction and advice that we hear are sent by our heavenly Father. They are His corrections, rebukes, warnings, and scoldings. His reminders are meant to humble me, to weed out the root of pride and replace it with a heart and lifestyle of growing wisdom, understanding, goodness, and truth. For example, if you can take criticism—however just or unjust—you’ll learn to give it with gracious intent and constructive results.