There’s one kind of criticism that adds to our sparkle. It’s the kind that is from a friend or loved one, and that person knows us, understands our heart (at least to some extent), and really wants the best for us. It is for those persons that these proverbs of wisdom apply:
Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.
Proverbs 19:20 ESV
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that listens to counsel is wise.”
It’s clear that God wants us to consider the possibility that we may not know all there is to know (understatement!), and that listening to “constructive criticism ” is a wise thing to do. The little cartoon is correct in its paraphrase of Proverbs 12:15, “Fools think they are always right.” And indeed not listening to wise and caring people is a good way to walk right off a cliff!
On the other hand, there is another kind of criticism that is a sparkle-quencher. It is the kind that comes from someone who sees us from a distance, doesn’t know us, and certainly doesn’t care about us. This person has no idea what God has spoken to our hearts nor of the the motives or desires that He has put inside of us.
A good way to determine if criticism is healthy or not is this: giving negative feedback should be painful, not enjoyable. It should hurt the one pointing out the flaws. They wish they didn’t have to do it. And they certainly don’t delight in sharing with others their negative observations.
So we should be open to caring individuals who share with us how we might improve.
But for the ones who seem to love and enjoy being critical, here’s a visual of what to do with their advice: