If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept correction, you will be honored. ~Proverbs 13:18 NKJV
The Collins English Dictionary defines the word criticism as:
the act or an instance of making an unfavourable or severe judgment, comment, etc.
In the business world, many have taken to the euphemism “constructive feedback,” a term that attempts to soften and give purpose to criticism. It speaks to the intent of the correction, which is supposed to help you improve in some way. It takes a good measure of humility to receive such “feedback” and act upon it.
Have you ever rejected criticism or correction out of hand? In Jeremiah 5:2-4, the prophet records God’s reaction to the proud residents of Jerusalem who kept God far from their hearts:
O Lord, do not Your eyes look for truth? You have smitten them, But they did not weaken; You have consumed them, But they refused to take correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; They have refused to repent.
This passage seems to indicate that ignoring correction is probably not a great strategy. Proverbs 29:1 is a stern warning against a lifetime of ignoring correction:
A man who hardens his neck after much reproof Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.
There is probably a reason why you’re being criticized or corrected. It may be prudent to invest time and thought as to what that is. Reflection may lead you to conclude that the criticism is baseless, unwarranted or unjustified. But perhaps there really is something about you that should change.
Serious contemplation can help you discern your best response. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, the apostle Paul reminds you that the Bible contains the wisdom you need:
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
Study God’s living, active word. It will teach you. It will critique you. It will correct you. It will train you. The more you allow the scriptures to mold your character, the less correction you’ll receive from others.