By Chuck Porter
The Bible can be a frustrating book. I’m not just talking about those long lists of impossible-to-pronounce names. I’m talking about how it points out things I know I should do, but I just don’t want to do them. When the Bible is part of our daily lives, it’s constantly giving us feedback, leading us to make the right choices, and encouraging us to trust God with our futures. It’s a living book, and it’s one we should all receive feedback from.
Receiving feedback isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary. We receive feedback every single day, so how much of it are we accidentally tuning out? How much is useful? Which feedback can we filter out? These are questions we all need to answer because as Pastor Craig Groeschel says, “Without honest, timely feedback, your personal and organizational growth is always limited.”
Here are a few steps you can take to become a better listener and leader by receiving feedback in a healthy way.
- Stop and listen. Life moves at roughly 14 bajillion miles an hour—it’s okay to stop and ask directions. If you ignore the signs telling you to turn, you might find yourself in a wreck. Instead, find some smart people who will listen to your situation and give you good, specific feedback. (Just for fun, try counting how many times you change your mind because someone you trust gave you good advice.) Pride wants to tell you you’re right, but patience only wants you to make the right choice. Choose patience, every time.
- Weigh what they say. Feedback comes from all sides, but not all of it is good. You’ll hear people telling you to quit this, start that, hire him, or date her. Remember those smart people we talked about in the first point? You’ll need to make sure they’re people you can really trust, too. Find people with experience, character, and a good relationship with God. Their words should weigh more than those of a casual acquaintance.
This is a tough step, I won’t lie. It can mean you might need to remove some voices from your life who might be feeding you lies. You’ll also probably hear things you didn’t want to hear from people you admire. Honesty can sting like alcohol cleaning a wound, but the Bible also tells us in Proverbs 27:17 that iron sharpens iron. You need honest, dependable friends to keep you accountable.
- Stay true to you. Remember that good feedback is about your behavior, not your identity. You are who God says you are. Good feedback will always remind you to stay true to that identity and to take actions that reflect Christ. If you’re hearing feedback that tells you otherwise, it’s not feedback worth listening to.
- Take some action. It’s your decision, but you’ve asked the right people for their opinions and you’ve gone to God with your concerns. That alone will take the weight of worry off of your shoulders. Be confident, and do the right thing.
- Wince and repeat. Continually embracing the humility it takes to accept feedback is the hardest step, especially when you get some feedback that hurts. You’ll be stronger in the long run, and you’ll be able to give good feedback to others down the road. Overcoming pride isn’t easy, especially since pride is always clamoring to be at the top of any list—it’s pride, after all. But it’s always worth it to make the best decision.
In his latest podcast, Pastor Craig talks about how you can start receiving feedback in a healthy way. Take a few minutes to listen to it over lunch, on your way to work, or at the gym.