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The Blessing of Criticism

Discover the surprising rewards of responding appropriately to other’s judgments.

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

There is just one way to avoid criticism—never do anything. Get your head above the crowd, and jealous people will notice and attack you. So, welcome criticism as a sign that your life has purpose. Actually, your critic is an asset (though at times an annoying one!) because he keeps you alert and causes you to examine yourself and your motives.

The Apostle Paul advises us to, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them” (Romans 12:14). When anybody criticizes you, instead of fighting back or saying unkind things about him, simply bless him. This means asking God to help him. Pray that his life will be filled with blessings. By following this procedure, your critic—instead of receiving opposition from you, which is destructive—will receive goodwill, which is creative. You may not win him over by blessing him, but you will remove the hurt from yourself and possibly help him overcome his hatefulness.

There is always a tendency, when criticized, to criticize in return. Something evil has been done to you, and human nature wants to give evil in return. But that only makes the whole situation more evil! And it is a simple fact that no good ever comes out of evil. “Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all” (Romans 12:17).

When you act small and vengeful, it’s bound to come back at you and make you look bad. But when you do the noble thing—the big, generous and right thing—everybody will see that you are a “big person” and therefore the criticism is undeserved.

And revenge? Forget it! “Never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written,‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord’” (Romans 12:19). It is not your business to get revenge—only God has that right. He is the one who repays people for the wrongs they have done. He alone is the judge of men’s actions. So, leave it to Him. He can do it better than you can, and He does it constructively.

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