Then Job answered: How long will you hurt me and crush me with your words? You have insulted me ten times now and attacked me without shame. Even if I have sinned it is my worry alone. If you want to make yourselves look better than I, you can blame me for my suffering. . . ( Job 19:2-5)
SITUATION Because Job rejected his advice, Bildad grew frustrated in an effort to convince Job, he told of the horrible fate of sinners. Job firmly believed that in the end God would vindicate him because of his innocence.
OBSERVATION Job listened to Bildad, even though he knew Bildad was incorrect. Only when Bildad was finished speaking did Job answer.
INSPIRATION Let me introduce you to several kinds of people who express various forms of destructive criticism. First are the blamers. They avoid responsibility for their actions by criticizing other people or blaming past experiences which cannot be changed or undone . . .
Another negative critic is the hurtful joker. Humor is a positive method of relating to others . . . But hurtful jokers make others the butt of their humor. They specialize in laughing at people instead of laughing with them . . .
A third kind of critic is the fault-finder. This person seems to have an insatiable need to point out others defects . . . . And do you know what is so maddening about this person? He usually does with he does with a smile, saying , "I'm just trying to be helpful." . . .
Another kind of critic at large in the world today is the cannibal. These people don't criticize in a joking manner or settle for mere nitpicking. They go for the jugular . . . They attack through the most severe forms of personal criticism and put downs with complete disregard for the feelings of others.
Destructive critics may say they are only interested in remodeling you into a better person by sharing a little constructive criticism. But in reality (these) critics . . . are intent on putting you down, tearing you down, punishing you, and manipulating you. Their brand of criticism does not nourish; it poisons . . .
When you are the target of another person's destructive criticism, the natural response is to become defensive. But in reality, the least effective way to respond to criticism is to defend yourself, make excuses, or counterattack . . .
Remind yourself that you are responsible to answer to God and to yourself, not to critical person. Being responsible to God, you look to Him for direction and approval. Being responsible to yourself you take ownership of your feelings, attitudes, and behavior. If you are aligned with God and with what He wants you to be, you don't need to fear criticism or try to justify your position. You have the power to make your own choices and grow through the experience of criticism.
As a non defensive person, you respect and feel good about yourself. You believe in your worth and your capabilities. You possess your own identity and sense of security. Being non defensive, you can listen to others more objectively and evaluate better what they are saying, even when they express themselves in a negative manner. You can accept the critical person for who he is, even if you don't agree with him. You can accept his right to see the world as he sees it, whether or not it coincides with your view. You're able to relate to him without making disparaging comments or negative judgments about him. (From How To Get Along with Almost Anyone by H. Norman Wright)
APPLICATION What is your first response to criticism? Are you thin-skinned, touchy, or sensitive? Ask God to help you listen with interest. Take the criticism, evaluate it, and apply what will be helpful.
EXPLORATION Criticism -- Job 6:24; 19:3-5; Proverbs 10:17; 27:6.