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Bitter or Better?

Posted by Dawn Lau on

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10

Ever had someone rub you the wrong way, do something that annoyed you, or make small comments that offended you? And you know you’re overreacting but you can’t help it? I recently received some “constructive criticism,” the kind where the “criticism” overshadowed the “constructive.” It threw me because it was regarding an area I felt God had called me to. These few negative comments caused me to question whether I was suited to continue; I alternated between berating myself and resenting her, and indulging in ugly human reactions. I spent the first day wallowing and defensive, complaining to my friends—“Can you believe she said that?”—all the earthly ways we attempt to pick up the shards of our self-esteem.

If ever we were tempted to forget how sinful we are, times like these are certainly good reminders. What we do next will determine whether we nurse a grudge or whether we will let God refine us.

That night, I sought God in prayer, and was reminded that what I do, God’s calling or not, is secondary to who I am in His eyes. What good is my service to him if my heart is black? My indignant reaction to a few negative comments reared an ugly head of pride.

Will I let this discourage me? Not if I interpret setbacks as equipping. Until God tells me to quit, I will continue down this path, sifting all compliments and criticism under the truthful light of God. The enemy likes it when our hurt causes us to make sweeping statements. But if we don’t use this time to see where we can improve, and let God convict us, forgive us, heal us and strengthen us, the experience will ossify into hardened pride.

Just like symptoms are indicative of a deeper illness, we are grateful for these experiences without which we would not know the darkness of our own hearts, if not for the grace of God and the sanctifying power of the gospel.

Let us choose to be better by:

  • Thanking God for being holy and for helping you see and learn things from His best and perfect perspective.
  • Asking God to help you to be determined to learn from every “negative” experience and obey His Spirit’s conviction.

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