This month we’re talking about being thankful. It’s a topic that is encouraging and brings hope when you think about it typically because it is all about looking for the good and choosing to focus on the good and not the challenges or the problems. But today I want to take a different perspective and talk about Proverbs 15:31-32 which says:
“If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise. If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.”
Some people are really quick to jump up and offer criticism, it’s always easier to see ways others can improve. We also don’t really like thinking about our own failures so sometimes we look for the failures of others to hopefully find that they’ll eclipse what we’ve done wrong. Can we learn from the mistakes of others? Absolutely. It’s a great idea to learn from their mistakes so that we hopefully can improve on their decisions. But the simple truth is that everyone screws up at one point in time or another (and most of us do it on a daily basis).
But the real challenge presented in these verses is that it’s really hard to ask for criticism or guidance about your failures. It’s not easy to ask others to criticize you or something you’ve created and offer feedback, especially when you think you’ve done something really good and others don’t have as much excitement over it as you do. And then if you do work up the courage to ask for the feedback and they come back with a laundry list of things you can improve on, it can be discouraging.
However, as these verses point out one of the best things you can do is to get constructive criticism (key word there is constructive), and look for ways you can improve yourself. God may have designed you as perfect but that’s not who we are right now, we’ve all got growing to do before we reach that point. So this week I encourage you to reach out to trusted friends or even to a mentor or someone who doesn’t know you personally and ask them for feedback on how you can grow through the things that are challenging you most right now. You don’t have to fix everything at once, but you should take at least one forward step each day.