Insights on Wisdom
Author: Andy Robbins
This past Sunday we discussed the blessings of acquiring and walking in wisdom. I want to elaborate on a few points in today’s post.
Firstly, recall that one very overlooked way to acquire wisdom to is to seek wise counsel and listen to constructive criticism and advice. This is probably the most overlooked of the wisdom principles because no one likes to be told that they are blowing it in an area. That is affront to our self-esteem and our precious pride. But if you want to grow in wisdom, being open to constructive criticism and advice is a MUST, because the scriptures teach that people who reject advice are fools!
But that doesn’t mean we have to be people’s doormats either. Sometimes people will approach you with criticisms that are borne out of their own insecurities and jealousies. Not every criticism will be valid, and not every piece of advice should be heeded. But all advice and criticism should at least be prayerfully considered, because often there will be a nugget of truth even amidst criticism borne out of wrong motives.
So here’s a tip: Whenever you are listening to someone’s criticism, always ask this question: “Can you give me an example of where I’ve blown it in this area so that I can better evaluate my behavior?” This puts your counterpart on the spot. Every valid criticism should be able to provide you with examples of that criticism. You don’t have to swallow every criticism when all the person can offer you is generalities (i.e. “you always do such and such”). If someone approaches you with criticisms that are general in nature, then ask for an example. If the person cannot give you an example, then your response can be, “I’m always open to how I might be able to improve my character or behavior, but if you can’t give me an example of how I’ve blown it in this area, then I can’t really apply the criticism.”
That response helps you to sort out the valid criticisms from the invalid ones.
Probably the toughest thing to do is to accept criticism from someone who is offering it in a harsh and condescening way. No one likes that sort of thing. Nevertheless, it’s important to try and stay open to all advice and criticism, because digging in your heels against it could prove fatal to your character development and spiritual walk. And it certainly will hinder other areas of progress in your life.
Here’s a couple of scriptures to close out this post:
“Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.” -Proverbs 12:15, NLT
“If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept correction, you will be honored.” -Proverbs 13:18, NLT