15 I have seen everything in my pointless lifetime: the righteous person may die in spite of their righteousness; then again, the wicked may live long in spite of their wickedness.16 Don’t be too righteous or too wise, or you may be dumbfounded. 17 Don’t be too wicked and don’t be a fool, or you may die before your time. 18 It’s good that you take hold of one of these without letting go of the other because the one who fears God will go forth with both.
19 Wisdom makes a wise person stronger than ten rulers who are in a city. 20 Remember: there’s no one on earth so righteous as to do good only and never make a mistake. 21 Don’t worry about all the things people say, so you don’t hear your servant cursing you. 22 After all, you know that you’ve often cursed others yourself! Ecclesiastes 7:15-22, CEB
When I put these verses down on paper a few days ago I didn’t plan on going through them verse by verse, but that’s what I’ve done. Oh well.
I love how these verses close. I always get convicted by verses on hypocrisy. When I overhear bad things people have said about me, it crushes me. However, I’m very free to criticize others. And the thing about my criticism is, I wouldn’t want people to take it to heart. To me, criticisms are just observations. But do I want to be criticized? God no.
And what, then? Logically, I shouldn’t take to heart the criticisms that come flying my way from elsewhere because I can assume other people share some similarities with myself. If only it were that easy. It would be so nice if the Bible didn’t just say what to do but also told you exactly how to do it. Perhaps that’s part of its genius. The “how” changes over time and place and varies from culture to culture and there’s no single set of practices that would satisfy every audience. So, in some ways, we’re left to our own devices.
So, how do I deal with criticism?