Talk to the Hand!
Is it easy to ignore criticism? Things like I think your spouse was flirting with me, your child needs more structure, you could stand to lose a few pounds, you didn’t have to be so harsh, or just simply…you need Jesus. Ugh…it’s painful.
Why is it so difficult for us to hear truth?
Because truth demands change! Anyone who rejects the truth of godly counsel will remain in their baby state of faith. Let’s grow up and take steps of faith.
Step #1) Confess our sins.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and
purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
Sin causes us to stumble and darkens our eyes to the truth. Our unwillingness
to deal with sin keeps us from moving forward to a better life of peace
and stability. Deal with it by owning up in confession and
receiving God’s forgiveness.
Step #2) Acknowledge the truth from the Spirit of God.
“We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood” (1 John 4:6).
God the Father sent the Spirit of truth to lead and guide us in the right direction. He speaks in a still, small voice in our spirits, but we can’t hear Him if we are too busy listening to our idols. We need to be quiet before God and listen.
Step #3) Live the truth we know from the Bible.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says”
By consistently reading, memorizing, and meditating on God’s word, we will live the truth. Live what you understand from the Bible to be right. No more excuses. God gives each believer the grace to live righteously.
Step #4) Repent of bad behavior.
“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent” (Revelation 3:19).
To repent is showing that you’re no longer ignoring truth. You may have to apologize to someone, pay back money you owe, or walk away from certain friends. Repenting is the proof that you’re living for Jesus Christ and not for yourself.
Step #5) Walk in restoration with God and people.
“Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace” (2 Corinthians 13:11).
We can take medicine to heal our physical bodies, but the only medicine for a broken spirit is the Lord. When we turn away from our own ways and turn towards Christ, He heals our hurts. He wants us to come with a broken and contrite spirit so He can heal our wounds.
Should we accept all criticism as if we have sinned? Of course not. We must pray for discernment and be willing to ask the question “Is there truth to what I’m hearing?” Always screen criticism through the light of God’s word and the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Put down the hand of protest and receive the gentle pruning from God.
The New International Version. 2011. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.