How Believers Can Face Criticism Like No One Else
How can we as Believers live undaunted in our workplaces, in our homes, and in our schools when someone’s judgement stings?Eva Kor, a survivor of the Holocaust, demonstrated the beautiful way believers can face their critics.
How well are you able to weather criticism, whether it’s constructive, harsh, or unjust?
In a world where offenses run high and semantics deep, how can we as believers live undaunted in our workplaces, in our homes, and in our schools when someone’s judgement stings? Eva Kor, a survivor of the Holocaust, demonstrated the beautiful way believers can face their critics.
How Can We as Believers Live Undaunted by Criticism?
Eva Moses Kor and her twin sister Miriam were one set of approximately 1,500 pairs of twins that underwent horrid medical experiments at the hands of Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor, nicknamed the Angel of Death. Eva survived while her sister passed away from complications after their liberation in January of 1945. Despite her intense loss, Eva has chosen a brave response to the genocide her people suffered.
“I discovered that I had the power to forgive,” she said. “If the Jewish people will see merit in the idea of forgiveness, even forgiving Nazis, the world will learn something very important.”
As a Holocaust survivor, Holocaust museum founder, and willing spokesperson, Eva has become a popular figure. However, with such a bold message, Eva has become controversial, especially among her fellow survivors. Eva explains one event in Chicago where an entire family publicly criticized her.
“There is such a deep-seated hatred against me for forgiving.”
When we find ourselves in similar situations, what does God say our response should look like? When our egos are wounded, or words make us feel vulnerable and victimized, what is a healthy and holy internal response?
4-Step Prayer Exercise in Letting Go of the Criticism that Devastates
God’s word tells us the best way to process a conversation that leaves us unsettled is, first, to pray (Philippians 4:6). As the wisest counselor, the omniscient Father, and sovereign Savior, God holds the answers to our intimate inquiries.
Using God’s word to anchor us, here are four sequential prayers we should pray to help us live whole when we’re feeling criticized.
1. Confess: Be Honest with God about Your Feelings
“Lord, you know the criticism spoken to me. Her criticism suffocated me, and I am feeling defeat, anger, frustration, sorrow, injustice, confusion and unsettledness. I know my emotions do not always indicate truth; however, I openly acknowledge what you already know.”
Confession opens a clear channel of communication between us and God. Proverbs 28:13 says, “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but he who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” God knows our thoughts, but in confession, we have opportunity to acknowledge before God all that is in us. Nothing is hidden or held back, just like in our most intimate earthly relationships. When nothing is hidden, we are able to receive, and God is able to respond. Next, we can seek God for the “why.”
2. Inquire: Ask God to Examine Your Heart
Ask the Lord, “Why did what that person said trouble me?” Psalms 139 describes how unbelievably far-reaching God’s omniscience is. Verses one through four says God searches us, He examines our hearts, He knows our thoughts, and even what we will say before we say it. God knows the depths of our intellect, person, and subconscious better than we even know ourselves. He is who we go to as the only person who truly knows every part of us. When nothing is hidden from Him by first confessing in prayer, our hearts are primed to hear from God the “why.” We are in a surrendered posture that allows us to humbly receive.
When we are flustered by another person’s words, our intimate prayer to an all-knowing God produces the answer. God is able to put His finger on exactly why words trouble us and reveal the reality of our situation regardless of how we feel (Psalm 139:1-12).
3. Praise: Thank God for the Truth He Reveals to You
Say, “Lord, I heard you say the reason this criticism has troubled me is ____________. Thank you for revealing to me an answer when I asked” (Psalm 139:13-23).
4. Identify the Best Response: Letting Go
Armed with new understanding, we can identify the best way to forgive and move on. We can truly let go of the offense and reconcile our hearts to the truth that has been revealed. These two options lead us to the same result of letting go:
- We can let go of the offense and reconcile the relationship with a truly concerned friend (Proverbs 27:6), or we. . .
- . . .let go of the offense and reconcile ourselves to its reality. Either way, we let go and live with the benefits of being a believer who has decided to live both biblically and unshackled by others’ words.
Interacting with a Holy God and His Wholeness
There were times in my own life when the fill-in-the-blank for why criticism troubled me was “my own pride,” “my own insecurity,” or “my fear.” This gave me the opportunity to confess my sin and right my relationship with God prior to righting my relationship with the other person. A friendship is only made deeper when God himself restores through confession, seeking, and praise. With God’s help, you will be able to trust that person all the more next time.
There will also be other times when God reveals the reality of the other person’s ill will or misconception of us. In the event God reveals to us the offender’s error, we can go back to God in prayer for His guidance (Proverbs 26:4-5).
God can be such a gentle Father, and we can receive more from Him than from any other person we know. This Biblical process of identifying our hearts’ response to criticism, why we were offended and how we should respond, gives us room to acknowledge our humanity, interact with a holy God, and then move beyond our hurt into wholeness.
No matter the motive of the offender—whether the unintentional wound of a friend or attack of an enemy—God enables us to let go. We can forgive.
The act of practicing forgiveness is God’s gift to us in a broken world where our feathers are bound to get ruffled. Forgiveness sets us apart. Hurt can’t linger for long when we keep short accounts. Forgiveness grants light hearts, free from bitterness and burden, and allows us to keep only the mutually beneficial relationships close.
Through prayer, Eva was able to forgive not only her brutal Nazi attackers, but the equally painful attacks of her critics, too.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Amanda Florczykowski left a successful career to love on her family full-time, and launch a MOPSInternational© chapter. She served as Board President for Legacy Academy, a Christian, University-Model® School, which she founded in 2015. She is the author of Unraveled: My Toddler’s Rescue from America’s Child Sex-Trade due Fall, 2019. You can snag a free chapter here. When not involved in family life, speaking, or writing, Amanda partners with business CEO and Development Pastor husband to consult with organizations desiring to flourish. Amanda’s adorable, little family of six call the Texas Hill Country home. Connect on IG, Facebook, or Pinterest.