Handling Criticism (and the Critic)
“Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness; let him rebuke me—that is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it, for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers”
– Psalm 141:5.
Receiving input from others, especially when it isn’t requested and falls into the category of “constructive criticism,” can be a challenging event. David vowed in today’s verse that he would not reject the rebuke from others and would not be angry at the ‘rebuker,’ instead of keeping his focus on the real enemies in his life. What’s more, David described those confrontations with those who rebuked him as “kindness” and “oil for my head.” The wisdom book of Proverbs had much to say about this life experience of receiving criticism: “Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy” (Proverbs 29:1) and “A rebuke impresses a discerning person more than a hundred lashes a fool” (Proverbs 17:10). How do you receive a rebuke from someone else? Do you get angry at them? Do you defend yourself, or do you see the process as potentially valuable as you learn about some negative or weak area in your life that can be corrected for God’s glory?
John Stanko was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended Duquesne University where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics in 1972 and 1974 respectively.
Since then, John has served as an administrator, teacher, consultant, author, and pastor in his professional career. He holds a second master’s degree in pastoral ministries, and earned his Doctor of Ministry from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh in 2011.
John founded a personal and leadership development company, called PurposeQuest, in 2001 and today travels the world to speak, consult and inspire leaders and people everywhere. From 2001-2008, he spent six months a year in Africa and still enjoys visiting and working on that continent, while teaching for Geneva College’s Masters of Organizational Leadership and the Center for Urban Biblical Ministry in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Most recently, John founded Urban Press, a publishing service designed to tell stories of the city, from the city and to the city.