Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it. (Psalm 141:5)
Yes, it is true...we are not always criticized by "righteous" people nor do people always come to us in the most "Christlike" way to bring up our...shortcomings (as they perceive them). However, if we can be mindful that we are sinners and everyone else is a sinner too it may be a helpful step towards setting the tone for any type of conversation. Also we need to remember that there is usually some truth to every criticism regardless how the message is delivered to us. Keeping these things in mind, we should be able to put ourselves in a better position to receive criticism as a means to grow personally and spiritually, which should be our continual aim.
None of us are "there yet" which means we all have areas of our lives that still need to be sharpened, and like it or not...this will be our reality until the LORD calls us home. But, that being said, God can still use both the godly or ungodly criticism of others to help us become more like Christ. Christ was often times criticized wrongfully or in an ungodly fashion -- yet he always responded with humility and grace.
As we seek unity in the body, it is my prayer that we not only make every effort to sharpen and encourage others in a loving and respectful fashion...but also (through humility) that we find ways to make it easy (as the author pointed out) for others to extend us the same courtesy. It's easy to give counsel or criticism to someone else...but what we really should work hard to find out is, why is it often times so hard to receive counsel or criticism from others? I know the answer in my own heart. PRIDE. Yes, an ugly and pesky sin indeed, which has the ability to hide itself in the deepest...hidden cracks of my soul. I'm fully aware that as God tries to make me more like Christ, that it will be impossible for this to happen without some uncomfortable moments. Pride won't go down without a fight. It will make every effort to hold on to its existence in my life, as the Holy Spirit works diligently and precisely (like a surgeon) to exterminate this cancer in my life once and for all.
I encourage you to read this article if you have time. I'd be interested in your feedback on it as well if the LORD leads you.
Article [ HERE ]
Striving for sanctification through humility, each and every day.
For His Glory,