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Christian Counseling - Loving and Embracing Criticism and A Rebuke

For most it is easy to embrace those people and things they cherish and that help create good feelings, such as a hug or a compliment. But most would avoid or walk away from criticism or the harsher rebuke. Facing them can be a fearful prospect that generates feelings of inadequacy, failure and self-flagellation. So, how can a person ever think of criticism and a rebuke as friends to be loved and embraced?

You might be inclined to think a person like that is masochistic or so defended or overly self-assured that nothing rocks his or her boat. Beyond those ideas is another possibility--a biblical attitude that sees criticism and rebuke as good and healthy. One that holds they are necessary for personal growth, broadening one's mind, curtailing negative behavior, becoming spiritually mature and pleasing God. I could go on to present other solid, logical reasons for desiring them, but here is the key to the desire: an underlying and unquenchable wish to be the best person one can be; to be like Christ. When that is one's life-goal he or she not only permits criticism and rebuke, but grows to look for them, appreciate them and even love them for they uniquely and remarkably help one achieve the goal--the best self possible (Proverbs 9:8,9; 15:5,10; 25:12 and Psalm 141:5).

Initially, developing such an attitude may seem to be a gargantuan task, but any serious-minded and diligent person can do it. First, commit this endeavor to God, and know that His heart is warm toward you and will walk with you every step of the way. Foster a couple of people who will be available to support you when the going gets rough, and it will, for a while. Then invite one or two persons to be open and honest with you about your shortcomings, or you can invite another person to join in the adventure where you help each other grow. Develop a listening ear, look intently for the truth in what is said to you and work on changing one thing at a time. When you see yourself becoming the person you desire you will begin to think of criticism and a rebuke as friends to be loved and embraced, and even more so when they have lost most of their power to threaten and wound.  

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