IF I WERE TEACHABLE, THEN I would not be defensive when criticized.
Rationalization is sure to find its way into this discussion. “But what they said was not completely true,” or “what they said was not given in a kind manner.” So? The question on the table is not the degree of truth in the criticism or how it was delivered, but whether or not there something for me to learn from it. After all, God was not taken by surprise in what was said or how it was delivered, but knew that this was part of being conformed to His image. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God, endure grief, suffering wrongfully (1Pet. 2:19). You might get defensive at this point and argue that a half-truth is a lie, and thus the criticism leveled against you is rendered invalid. Not so fast. Half-truths are invalid in the world of objective reality but not subjective reality. A half-truth regarding what your product can deliver will later be brought to your attention as a lie, but a half-truth regarding your character is a different matter.
IF I were teachable THEN I would sift through all that was said and see if there is an element of truth. If I were teachable, I might seek out a good friend and run by them the criticism to see if they have perceived this in me. I don’t like it when I get home from being with friends only to find that I was sporting spinach between my teeth throughout the evening. Why didn’t someone say something? Sporting spinach is a far cry from sporting bad character. Tell me, please! I want to know, even if it is not said in a kind fashion.
Let’s try something on for size. Over the years I have learned a great deal about people and a great deal about me. Let me give you two categories and see if you don’t fit into one or the other. I believe that most people, Christians included, have a fear of man. I realize this is not an original thought, but I suspect some of you recoil at this and are quick to say that you don’t fear anyone. You just exposed your fear. You fear that people won’t see you as not fearing anyone. You want to be seen as tough and self-sufficient.
You may even like to display your success by material possessions or letting others know of your success in business. The thought of people seeing you as a failure is more than you can handle, but whether or not they like you never comes across your radar. And then there are those of us that fear people won’t like us and find it difficult to confront. If teachable, we can probably see ourselves in one camp or the other. This, more than we know, directs the traffic of our lives. What we avoid and what we seek out is dictated by one of these.
So IF I am teachable THEN I will seek the counsel of the most teachable one of all of whom it was said “that he learned obedience through suffering” (Heb. 5:8). We will suffer in learning to be teachable, but we will be far more Christ-like when it is learned. Any spinach showing?