Exodus 14:11-12, “They said to Moses, ‘Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us into the wilderness to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Did we not say to you in Egypt, “Leave us alone so that we may serve the Egyptians?” For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.’”Exodus 16:2, "In the desert, the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron."
"STOP, DROP, AND ROLL!" That's what every elementary school student learns to do if their clothes catch on fire. It means to STOP and not panic, DROP to the ground, and ROLL around to extinguish the flames. Although we hope it never happens, and it's not something at the forefront of our minds, it's good that we know what to do. But did you know "Stop, Drop, and Roll" can also help us extinguish the burn of criticism?While Moses led God's people through the desert, he faced heavy criticism on multiple occasions. The Israelites constantly grumbled against him and repeatedly questioned (often with some sarcasm) his leadership and decision-making skills. Throughout their decades-long journey, Moses had to stop and drop it all before God, then roll with His instructions.We've all dealt with criticism. No matter if it's helpful or harmful, it's never fun to hear because it stings our pride and invokes our innate fear of rejection. Nonetheless, we must STOP ourselves from getting defensive and listen, then DROP it before God in prayer and ROLL with whatever He's teaching us. God works through all things for our benefit. He confirms needed change through the constructive criticism of others and comforts us when it's destructive.The next time you receive criticism or someone close to you speaks the hard truth in love, be like Moses and remember to stop, drop, and roll!
Criticism is easy to give but hard to take. Remember the power of words. Next time you give criticism, don’t belittle that person to elevate yourself but speak the truth in love. And, the next time you receive criticism remain calm, consider the source, think it through, and make necessary changes.
Father God, Thank You for working through all things for my benefit. Give me the wisdom and discernment needed to grow from criticism. Remind me that I can choose not to be offended. And help me to use the right words when I need to speak the truth in love to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.