Criticism – You Need to Know How to Give & Receive It

| | |

Sharing is caring!

What should you do when someone criticizes you? What's the best way to criticize someone else? We're taking a look at Biblical ways to give and receive criticism. What to say and way to do...

“Talk with your mind before you talk with your tongue.” ` Anonymous

How good are you at controlling your tongue? Are you quick to react and respond or do you have the ability to think about the way your words might be received before you speak them out loud?

It seems that David was tempted to lash out in anger following a word of criticism. But before he did, he turned to the Lord…

O Lord, I am calling to you. Please hurry!
    Listen when I cry to you for help!
Accept my prayer as incense offered to you,
    and my upraised hands as an evening offering.
Take control of what I say, O Lord,
    and guard my lips.

Psalm 141:1–3

Can you imagine if we all cried out to God in prayer before we responded in frustration and anger?

The Life Application Bible Notes add…

“Nobody really likes criticism but everybody can benefit from it when it is given wisely and taken humbly.”

Oh, but it’s so tempting to defensively fight back, isn’t it?

I get it, it’s hard to hear criticism but maybe at that moment, it’s something we need. It’s possible the words are being prompted by the Lord because well, we need to hear them.

Solomon wrote…

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.

Proverbs 15:31–32

Now, let’s flip the script for a moment and put ourselves in the shoes of the one speaking the “constructive criticism.”

Paul wrote…

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:1–2

Did you catch the words “gently and humbly”?

Difficult words are easier to hear if they are spoken gently and humbly. So, the truth is wherever or whenever we find ourselves in these kinds of situations, whether on the giving or the receiving ends …. it is critically important for us to think before we speak!

So, let’s make it our goal to go to God in prayer and ask for His guidance before we give or respond to words of correction.

Here are a couple of quotes to think about…

“Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.” ~ Frank A. Clark

Abraham Lincoln said, “He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.” And Dale Carnegie added, “But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.”

Let’s pray and ask the Lord to help us as we give and receive words of correction.

What should you do when someone criticizes you? What's the best way to criticize someone else? We're taking a look at Biblical ways to give and receive criticism. What to say and way to do...

A Prayer to Know How to Give & Receive Criticism

Father, we live in a critical world. People claim opinions as the truth and feelings as decisive. You tell us to love each other with patience and kindness. Please forgive us. It is so easy for us to become selfish and prideful.

Your Word tells us there are times when we are to correct each other so that we might help point one another toward Your truth and the blessings of knowing and following Your will. Help me hear constructive criticism with a humble heart. Help me run to You in prayer asking You for guidance and direction so that I might trust and obey Your plans for my life.

Please give me a heart willing to forgive when I have been hurt by critical words. And if I feel that You are prompting me to correct or criticize someone, please give me kind and helpful words that come from a heart of love.

Father, this is hard. I give myself to You. I look to You for help. You alone are my refuge and strength. Help me honor and glorify You in all I say and do. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

What should you do when someone criticizes you? What's the best way to criticize someone else? We're taking a look at Biblical ways to give and receive criticism. What to say and way to do...

Let’s look at a couple of kinds of criticism.

  • Constructive – Criticism or advice that is useful and intended to help or improve something, often offering possible solutions. Constructive criticism values the relationship and wants to be helpful. It focuses on the behavior. 
  • Destructive – Criticism that is demeaning and hurtful. Destructive criticism doesn’t value the relationship and simply wants to prove the person wrong. It focuses on the person.

What should you do before you offer criticism?

  1. Ask yourself whether you want to be helpful or hurtful.
  2. Consider the person’s life experiences and current circumstances.
  3. Think about ways you can begin by being positive and encouraging.

What should you do when you receive criticism?

  1. Listen – don’t be in a hurry to respond or react.
  2. Pray – ask God to reveal His truth about what was said.
  3. Pray some more – ask God to help you respond and/or react in ways that honor Him.

Let’s memorize the following verse and keep it in mind any time we are tempted to respond quickly to words that are unpleasant and hard to hear.

May the words of my mouth
    and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalm 19:14

May God bless you as you strive to live each day for His glory.

We would love to pray for you.
You can leave your prayer requests here

and even take a few minutes to pray over the list left by our friends.

Never Miss an Update

Leave your email address and I’ll send you a short email every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to alert you to each new devotion. Plus you’ll receive a copy of 30 Ways to Bless Your Marriage and Keep the Spark Burning

I always enjoy hearing from you! Please take a minute to say ‘hi” and share your thoughts in the comments below.

And if this article blessed or helped you today — would you share it with someone? Maybe a friend, family member, coworker, or through the links below…

Thanks again for visiting! Don’t forget to check out the links below to find additional posts that will bless you…

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Thank you again for a wonderful lesson in controlling the tongue! I especially love Psalm 19:14. Several of the Pastors I have had in church have used this before their sermons.
    I love the quotes you used. Especially the one by Frank A. Clark. Gentelness in correction is something we all should use and need ourselves. Harsh words and criticism can really make a bad mark on a person’s life. Life can be hurtful enough in situations that people are going through. Going to God and praying before we speak is always best.
    May God bless you with a wonderful and safe weekend and always.

    1. Thanks once again for your kind encouragement, Sue. I hope you’re enjoying a wonderful weekend. Blessings and hugs!

  2. Martha Orlando says:

    Psalm 19 is the origin of the name for my blog: Meditations of My Heart. Obviously, it is a favorite of mine.
    May we all examine ourselves and our intentions before we gently offer criticism to others.
    Have a great weekend, Deb!

    1. Amen, Martha! By God’s grace and with His help may we hold our tongues and share His love for His glory. Blessings and hugs, my friend!

  3. Lillian Nakato says:

    This is very helpful to me. Many times I respond to the wrong things people do especially young people under my care without considering how my response will affect them. Sometimes I hurt them and realize I didn’t build but injured them. Thank you Deb I have learned that I need to pose, pray and check whether I will break instead of building those people by my criticism.

    1. Oh, Lillian … I think we’re all guilty on occasion. I’m thankful that God gave me this reminder and I’m glad it blessed you, too. May He be with you and hold you close as He encourages you each day.