Have you ever gotten one of THOSE emails--the kind that hurts your feelings and makes your smile drop? With the advent of social media, we are all more accessible through email, Facebook and Twitter. Someone is always offering "constructive" criticism (is there really such a thing?) or making a comment about you that cuts to the core. Immediately, you feel the need to defend yourself.
Some of the criticism lately involves my hair, my clothes, wearing a cross necklace and not to mention, a peanut butter stain on my pants given by one of my kids' good-bye kiss--thanks to the viewer who HAD to point it out to me, just in case I didn't know.
The next time someone offers you some friendly advice on how YOU need to change, here are several things to keep in mind:
1) Not every critic needs a reply, especially when they are sent anonymously. Don't let their comment derail you from the position God has placed you in and concentrate on that. Satan likes to throw stones and hide. Even more so, he enjoys using Christians to do his dirty work. 1 Peter 2:15 says, "For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men."
2) Respond in the spirit and not in the flesh. It is so much easier to hurl an insult back, isn't it? When people say hurtful things to you or about you, they are dealing with something much bigger in their own life. Hurting people hurt other people, so don't take it personally. 1 Peter 2:23 says, "When they hurled their insults at Jesus, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead he entrusted himself to him who judges justly." God sees. God knows who is honoring Him, so leave room for His wrath.
3) Show mercy to the offender. How many times have I said something that didn't come out quite the way I wanted? Then again, maybe it did and I've found myself needing forgiveness. If it hasn't happened in your own life yet, one day you will need mercy from someone who you have hurt deeply. The only way to receive it when you need it is to practice showing mercy to those who have hurt us. Psalm 103:17 says, "But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him and his righteousness unto children's children."