How to Receive Criticism Well

Is criticism a good thing? If so, how can we receive it well? In this episode, Jeff Cavins shares personal advice and quotations from Scripture to help you receive criticism well.

Snippet from the Show
If you want understanding and you want to acquire wisdom, you must be open to criticism.


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3 Types of Criticism
  1. Accurate Criticism – This type of criticism can be completely or partially true.
  2. Inaccurate Criticism – Basically, this type of criticism is incorrect. There may be elements of truth in it, but for the most part, it is inaccurate.
  3. Destructive Criticism – This form of criticism is motivated by anger, experience, frustration, jealousy, envy or some other negative agenda on the part of the critic.
The Bible on Criticism
  • Proverbs 15:31-33 “He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof Will dwell among the wise. He who neglects discipline despises himself, but he who listens to reproof acquires understanding. The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility.”
  • Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
  • Proverbs 19:20 “Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days.”
  • Proverbs 17:10 “A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding Than a hundred blows into a fool.”
Questions to Ponder
  1. Do you really want to grow as a Christian? Proverbs 12:1 says, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.”
  2. Do you assume that you are right 100% of the time? Proverbs 12:5 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.”
  3. How many times have you heard criticism and, in reality, they only spoke about a part of your problem? A great preacher once said, “If any man thinks ill of you, do not be angry with him, for you are worse than he thinks you to be.”
  4. What does the way you currently receive corrections say about you?
Advice on How to Receive Criticism Well
  1. Consider the person who is criticizing you. Does this person love you? Do they know your story, your background? Do they have your eternal good in mind?
  2. Is there anything that they are saying that could be true? “Test everything, hold fast to what is good” 1 Thess 5:21.
  3. Slow down your response. James 1:19-20 “This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.”
  1. Give a gentle response. Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath” Let your speech be seasoned with love. Paul said in Galatians 6:1,” Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Look to yourself, lest you too be tempted.”
  2. Ask for clarification.
  3. Take it to the Lord in prayer. Test whether it is true! Look at the example of Jesus: “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he trusted to him who judges justly” (1 Pt 2:23).
In Conclusion

You must remember where your identity is found. It is not found in other people’s opinions of you or your work. Criticism can be helpful in terms of growth and becoming more effective as a Christian. However, your identity is something else completely. You cannot confuse your identity in Christ with performance. You are a child of God but you may still need correction. Needing correction does not change who you are. Remember that when you are corrected, you aren’t the only one who will benefit. Your family, your parish, your work will all benefit. Positive growth is beneficial to everyone. Thank God that someone had the nerve/love to take a chance with you!

Helpful criticism, in any area of life, is actually an opportunity to change. Take it!


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Meet Your Host: Jeff Cavins

Jeff Cavins is passionate about helping people understand Scripture and become disciples of Jesus Christ. Though he was born Catholic, Jeff went to Bible school and served as a protestant minister for twelve years before reverting to the Catholic Faith. Jeff then received his MA in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. Since then, he has become a leading Catholic evangelist and author.

Jeff created The Bible Timeline learning system, which revolutionized Catholic Bible Study for millions of Catholics. Since its introduction, Jeff has developed The Great Adventure series of Bible studies to help people better understand Sacred Scripture and its meaning for their lives. 

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