"An ear that listens to life-giving rebukes will be at home among the wise. Anyone who ignores instruction despises himself, but whoever listens to correction acquires good sense." -Proverbs 15:31-32
One of a coach’s toughest jobs is telling athletes what they are doing wrong. Most coaches try to do it constructively, but even then many athletes will choose to ignore the instruction or make excuses, blaming everyone else for the problems they themselves have caused.
Recently, I, too, was reminded of my imperfection through constructive criticism. What a blow to my ego that was! But we all need correction and people who will speak truth into our lives. Although we do not always want to hear what they are telling us, we still get to choose how we respond to the correction. Many of us choose to take criticism personally, and that holds us back from making the necessary changes for the better. Those of us who can listen to this type of correction and react accordingly will no doubt be better off in the end.
I have seen far too many athletes handle constructive criticism poorly, and it has ruined many a good athletic career. I myself would have to plead guilty to not always taking criticism the right way. But Christ wants to speak truth into our lives, many times in the form of the Holy Spirit’s constructive criticism. Again, we have a choice to respond positively or make it personal. The Lord knows that this criticism is for our own good, and when we realize that, our relationship with Him will deepen.
We need to remember that most people who offer constructive criticism truly are trying to help us. Words of encouragement should prod us on to a greater life in Christ, not lead to the bitterness of spirit that brings glory to Satan and his troops. So the next time someone gives you constructive criticism, just say, “Thanks for caring enough to tell me what was on your heart.”
1. How do you handle constructive criticism?
2. Do you try to make yourself feel better by finding fault in the messenger?
3. How can you respond properly to constructive criticism?
Proverbs 10:17; 12:1; 15; Hebrews 12:4-11
God, I know that I need to be open to instruction from my coaches if I am going to be a successful athlete. I don’t want to be limited by my pride. Adjust my attitude and help me as I work to receive instruction with an open heart. Amen.