11 My son, do not
despise the LORD's discipline
and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in. Proverbs 3:11-12
Criticism would make few top 10 lists of favorite gifts. While the Proverbs don’t use the term criticism, there are many passages that talk about receiving a rebuke. Almost surprisingly, the Proverbs teach that receiving a rebuke is often a good thing. Chapter 9 goes so far as to say that a wise man will love you if you rebuke him (9:8). Since the Garden, our natural tendency is to avoid blame and shift responsibility to others when our actions are challenged. It is easy to think we have been unfairly assessed. Yet if we do not welcome rebuke (criticism), we are not acting wisely.
A significant part of parenting is about building up people—your children (2 Cor. 13:10b). If we are honest before God, we must acknowledge that the person we see in the mirror has many flaws and weaknesses that make it difficult for our children to follow our direction. In fact, it is truly amazing that anyone would want to follow our direction! This is a why a wise man loves a rebuke. He knows he needs help. He also knows that God is committed to providing this help. That is the point of Proverbs 3:11-12. If we bristle at the rebuke of others we will also bristle at the rebuke of God.