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A Friend's Criticism Leads to Self-knowledge and Humility

How do you handle criticism? Is it an opportunity to take offense? Or is it a chance to grow in honesty about our faults and our need for God's grace? In his article titled "Welcoming Limits," Dave Goetz explores these questions through a personal story:

On a fly-fishing trip, with still an hour in the truck before arriving home, my fishing buddy off-handedly observed that I was overly sensitive to criticism. He listed a couple of instances, including my response to some reviews of my writing. Suddenly, the truck felt cramped. I snapped back that simply debating what others say about me or what I do isn't being overly sensitive. I asked him to give more specific examples, which I debunked. Hurt, I withdrew from the conversation and nursed my new wound from an old friend. How could I be sensitive to criticism?
In the years since, I've come, glacially, to another layer of insight: Not only am I oversensitive to criticism, I also likely to play consultant to others about how they can advance their lives. … [In the past], I saw myself as much more large-hearted … . I now see why humility comes on the heels of self-knowledge: I cringe when I think of how unaware I've been.

Goetz also cautions that this kind of honest self-knowledge, which leads to humility, isn't acquired in one lesson. "It's a slow, agonizing progression as the soul makes its way toward God."

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