If you haven't noticed, I have been pretty quiet lately, and regrettably it is my own fault; this is due to my own deflated pride, my own self doubt, my own allowance of people's words to hurt.
It has come to my attention that having a blog opens one up for criticism, but then again, living life opens one up for a lot of criticism as well.
Criticism is hard.
Grace is even harder.
Before I attack the rest of this post there are two things you need to know...
1. I have, at times, been very critical of other people, both bloggers and non-bloggers.
2. I am not perfect.
I thought about just jumping back into blogging with out even addressing what has been going on in my life/heart, but the more I thought on it the more I realized that we will all go through a period of criticism, either in blogging or in real life, and addressing the hard stuff is what keeps this community real. So I am addressing it.
There are three instances of deep heart wrenching criticism that have presented themselves over the past two years of blogging-- A fellow blogger, an acquaintance and most recently real life friends. The most hurtful obviously being the real life friends. At the climax of each instance I have been faced with the same dilemma--respond or don't.
In each of the three instances I have chosen not to respond to the critic. On one hand it was a calculated response. I have seen what responding out of anger can do (you forget, I work in a middle school-- it normally ends up with "I hate so and so" written in eyeliner on the bathroom stall). On the other hand I wouldn't know what to say in response that would have helped the situation at all. Any words I had would have hurt--deeply, deeply hurt either the critic or myself.
Instead I choose grace.
I choose grace, because grace was chosen for me.
Living a God honoring life is difficult. I want to respond from my flesh 100% of the time. I would have loved nothing more than to fire off a flesh fueled text or email that made the critic feel stupid and small. But isn't that doing right back to them what was done to me? I know how that feels, I know how much that hurts. I don't want anyone to feel that way. We are all entitled to our own opinions (unless your opinion is physically hurting people or anti-chocolate, and then you are NOT entitled to it :) ). That is what makes this world/community so unique. Why would we want to end that?
So what am I saying?
When you are being criticized, respond with grace.
When you think of criticizing remember how it feels (I sure know I will).
When you find something you don't like find two things that you do.
There is enough hate in the world, we don't need any more.
You don't have to like everything, but you do need to find value in it.