How should we respond to criticism? I admit I get angry and respond in ways I probably shouldn't when people criticize me, but I don't know how to react any other way. — Mrs. D.W.
Have you ever asked yourself why you react this way if someone criticizes you when you present an idea to them?
One reason, I suspect, is because down inside you believe they aren't just attacking your idea but they're attacking you. And when you feel this way, it makes it hard to evaluate their criticism fairly and honestly. After all, no one likes to feel as though people are rejecting them. But are they actually attacking you and rejecting you, and not just your idea? Probably not. In other words, learn to accept criticism, and don't feel that you're being rejected or attacked.
However, your question also has a spiritual dimension, and I hope you will see this side of it. God does not want us to respond to others in anger, but in love. Why? Because God loves them, and He commands us to love them as well. In addition, God knows that anger seldom solves anything; in fact, it only creates more problems. The Bible warns, "An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins" (Proverbs 29:22).
Begin by giving your life—including your emotions—to Jesus Christ. Then ask Him to help you deal with your anger and learn to react graciously to criticism. The Bible says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (Proverbs 15:1).