“If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.” Mt 5:39 NLT
There are two ways you can respond to negative criticism. If there’s truth in it, humbly accept it and grow through it. If not, practice what Jesus taught: “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say…If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also” (vv. 38-39 NLT). Sometimes a person’s criticism may actually have nothing to do with you at all; they simply feel cheated by life. And rather than take control of their heart’s dreams, they go around trying to squelch other people’s dreams in an attempt to drag them down to their own level of despair. And while it’s tempting to want to retaliate and point out their weaknesses and failures, that’s not the example Jesus set for you. Nor is it the high road you are called to take. “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone” (Ro 12:17-18 NLT). What does it mean to turn the other cheek? It means don’t let your critics get under your skin. Simply listen to them, thank them, and take their criticism with a grain of salt. Save your time and energy for those you trust, those who love you enough to tell you the truth even when it hurts. Someone has said, “You owe nothing to a critic!” Actually, you do. Jesus said, “Pray for those who persecute you!” (Mt 5:44 NLT).