The ability for people to shift blame and excuse just about any behavior as justifiable has reached previously unimaginable proportions today. I read a story about a college student who was caught for plagiarizing written assignments for his classes. Instead of remorse, regret and a change of behavior, this student chose a different course of action. He sued the institution for negligence since, in his own admission, he plagiarized all his papers for 3 years and ‘never dreamed it was a problem.’ His conjecture was that university should have been more careful and diligent to warn him that his actions were against the regulations instead of allowing him to get to the end of his academic career before enforcing the rules!
I guess it’s within all of us to look for someone else to be at fault for our poor choices. I mean, it began in the Garden of Eden when Eve blamed Satan for tempting her with the forbidden fruit, and Adam turned right around and pointed his finger at God for giving Eve to him! Maybe we should have all learned something from the fall by now, but that’s unfortunately not usually the case.
So, if you’re willing to be challenged, instead of falling in line with the current culture of looking to the behavior or motivations of others… take a minute to think about and examine yourself.
As a believer in Jesus, what do you do when someone points out where you are wrong? Do you argue? Defend yourself? Justify? Shift blame?
Have you ever considered that those natural responses could actually short-circuit the refining purpose of the Holy Spirit in your life or interfere with your ability to share the Gospel effectively and lead others to Jesus?
Read this verse from Proverbs 10: 17 slowly.
He who heeds discipline shows the way to life but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.
This verse gives us an interesting take on the importance of learning how to correctly respond to criticism and correction. It’s more than good for just your interpersonal skills! Solomon says that responding with humility to correction opens the pathway to the truth and conversely, when you are resistant to correction, you may unintentionally block the path to life! That’s a profound thought to consider because so often believers are much like everyone else and don’t particularly receive correction very well. But could it be that when you lash back at those who point out areas of weakness, you become so much like the world in your response that you unintentionally tell people around you that your faith makes no difference at all?
Paul warned believers to resist the temptation to become self-focused and set aside our ‘me-centered’ mindset and intentionally think about others first. Philippians 2:3-4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
When you choose deliberately to respond to even undue or incorrect criticism with a spirit of humility and gentleness, it takes you farther down the road of sanctification, and speaks volumes to unbelievers about the validity of your faith in God.