Friday, March 4, 2016

HOW TO ACCEPT CRITICISM



By Ada Brownell

Several years ago our pastor preached a sermon from an different angle that stuck in my head.

 I’ve heard many sermons on dousing a critical spirit and watching my tongue, but I can’t remember a pastor ever teaching how to accept criticism.

He was doing a series on Hebrews 11 and the verse of the day was, “By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain. By faith he was commended as a righteous man when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.”

Although it’s not written in this passage, our pastor indicated we should pay attention to what is behind the story that first appears in Genesis 4. The young men made a sacrifice, probably because God instructed the first family to do so. Sacrifice meant shedding of blood. We learn God said without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. If our just God rejected Cain’s vegetables, evidence shows the young man didn’t obey the Heavenly Father.

No matter how proud Cain was of his crop, it wasn’t according to the guidelines.

Cain’s reaction to God’s rejection was much worse than any writer who thought he had the perfect novel until it was rejected. The youth took his anger out on his brother and killed him.

 Many Bible characters experienced rejection and criticism. David had to run for his life from King Saul. Moses had to keep submitting his request to Pharaoh, although he was rejected on his first tries. Joseph was rejected by his brothers and severely criticized. The Apostle Paul was rejected at first by other Christians, and Jesus was not only badgered with skepticism by the Pharisees, the Jews turned their backs on Him and crucified Him.

How should we react to criticism and rejection? I hope not with the anger of Cain.

No one receives constant criticism like writers. People who must do critiques of someone else’s work should do it with gentleness.

Yet we can take criticism well—and learn from it. To do so, we have to be ferocious about keeping our pride in check when we receive a critical review of our work, and understand hard criticism often is the only kind of advice that helps.

In an interview on Faithwriters Blog by Joanne Sher, (http://faithwriters.com/blog/2012/03/28/interview-with-philip-yancey/) Philip Yancey said, “If you want to improve your writing 1) read voraciously from writers who can teach about style and content and 2) Hope for friends who will edit with a scowl. Most people want you to feel good so they give you compliments about your writing and that doesn’t help at all (except emotionally). Really, you need some grouches to edit your work.”

Yancey is a best-selling author of many books including, What Good is God? and Prayer: Does it Make a Difference?

I’ve learned much from critiquers and following guidelines. When I miss the mark, the first sharp words about my creations always hurts a little, but I won’t allow the wound to my ego to continue to bleed or fester. I let it heal, refuse to allow my desire to fulfill my calling to die, bind up the wounds by taking the therapy, pulling at those sore muscles,  and going on until I’ve found success.

© Ada Brownell


COMING SOON: THE PEACH BLOSSOM RANCHER, A SEQUEL TO THE LADY FUGITIVE 

The Lady Fugitive
By Ada Brownell

How does a respected elocutionist become a face on a wanted poster?
Jenny Louise Parks escapes from the coal bin, and her abusive uncle offers a handsome reward for her return. Because he is a judge, he will find her or he won’t inherit her parents’ ranch.
Determination to remain free grips Jenny, especially after she meets William and there’s a hint of romance. But while peddling household goods and showing a Passion of the Christ moving picture, he discovers his father’s brutal murder.
            Will Jenny avoid the bounty hunters? Can she forgive the person who turns her in?
2015 Laurel Award runner-up.
#Review The Lady Fugitive. You’ll laugh, bite your nails, wish you had a gun to help  http://ow.ly/QzlIP