Thursday, December 17, 2009

How to Rightly Respond to Criticism

One of the most important marks of spiritual maturity (and one of the spiritual habits that is hardest to develop) is the ability to benefit from criticism. (cp. Prov. 9:7-9)

Today I came across a blog post from Justin Taylor that pointed me to three excellent, helpful treatments of this crucial practice..advice from John Newton, Tim Keller and David Powlison on how to constructively respond to criticism:

-- advice from John Newton (yes, the "Amazing Grace" John Newton):

-- an article from Tim Keller

-- a longer essay from David Powlison

Powlison's article is the longest, but it's also the most comprehensive, so it's well worth the time (although some might want to skip quickly through his section on examples related to his own work). Here's just an excerpt:

"Fair-minded criticism is one of life's best
pleasures, an acquired taste well worth the
acquiring. Someone who will take you seriously,
understand you accurately, treat you charitably,
and who then will lay it on the line is a
messenger from God for your welfare (whether
or not you end up completely agreeing). There
is nothing quite like being disagreed with
intelligently, lovingly, and openly: "Faithful are
the wounds of a friend" (Prov. 27:6). If I only
listen to my allies, or to yes-men, clones,
devotees, and fellow factionaries, then I might
as well inject narcotics into my veins. The
people of God are a large work in progress. To
engage and to interact with critics is to further
the process-in both of our lives."

-- David Powlison

No comments: