“A wise man will receive a rebuke and he will prosper. But a fool rejects his father’s discipline” (Proverbs 15:5).
Let’s look at it from the perspective of receiving discipline from Our Father in Heaven… when the Holy Spirit exposes sin in our lives, how do we respond? Do we repent or become offended?What happens when we reject discipline and don’t respond with repentence? When we become offended, we grow bitter and cold, even if we don’t recognize it right away.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26).
How might this look for those of us who are in a position of leadership? Let’s say I sing a song that bothers someone, whether it’s the lyrics or the arrangement and how I led it. How do I respond? I can tend to be more passive with this sort of situation, so I might insincerely tell them thanks for the feedback and change the subject or pretend like I’m really busy and move on to whatever I was working on. Does this sound familiar at all? What if I received their feedback with a humble heart? And what if I think about it from their perspective? It’s helpful to look at various positions.
And let me further clarify, this isn’t feedback from that one guy who let’s you know everything you did wrong every week or even encourages you by how amazing you are and loves your music and all that jazz. This is feedback from someone who doesn’t usually give feedback, but they were bothered or moved enough to build up the nerve to confront you. If you’ve been in that position to give feedback, did you get nervous or scared and maybe stumble across your words when you confront someone with something that’s bothering you? And maybe you even come across as more confrontational than you meant to. What if, when someone approaches us, we were so calm and unoffendable that we actually helped put them at ease and told them we’re open to their feedback, criticism, whatever it might be? And to think, for just a second, maybe they have something to say that we didn’t already know, something that would allow us to grow?!
“Humility listens even to a harshly spoken word and, without reacting, rescues the truth within the criticism. The result is that we discover an area we had not seen and, instead of being offended, we become more Christlike” (Francis Frangipane, In Christ’s Image, pg. 113).
And regarding those who simply mean to harm… What does Jesus say we ought to do with those who persecute and curse us? Pray for and bless them! (Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:28).
QUESTIONS FOR PERSONAL & TEAM REFLECTION:
How do you tend to respond to feedback and criticism?
What are some instances when people were offended by Jesus’ feedback and criticism?
How might we be open to receiving feedback and criticism from God and those we are in community with?
How might humility be a helpful value personally and on a team?