- When’s the last time you were criticized for doing something wrong? (Allow your students to share brief stories, either funny or serious. Keep it short and upbeat—don’t let your students turn this into a serious gripe session.)
- It sounds like all of us know what criticism feels like. Did anyone enjoy the experience? (Answer will undoubtedly be: Of course not!)
Being told that you did something wrong is never fun. None of us like it. However, criticism can still be helpful, such as when it keeps us from doing something dangerous. Aren’t you glad your parents criticized you when you tried to play in traffic?
- What are some other examples of criticism that might be hard to hear but are actually helpful? (Accept all reasonable answers, which may include constructive criticism about growing a skill, getting better at a sport, working on musical performance, etc.)
- What types of criticism are hurtful? (Criticism that seeks to hurt or feelings without helping us improve, criticism that isn’t rooted in love and care for others.)
In our lives, we often get criticized by the people around us. It’s easy to just ignore criticism because it doesn’t feel good. But if we listen to what people who care about us are saying, their criticism can keep us safe and make us better people.
- Can you think of a time when criticism from someone you trusted made you a better person? (A teen might mention a coach who criticized his jump shot to help him improve it, or a teacher who criticized her lack of effort to keep her from failing a class.)
The people we meet in the Bible were subject to criticism, too. Even Jesus’ twelve disciples were corrected for doing things wrong. But when they took it to heart, it helped them grow. Let’s see how Peter responded when another spiritual leader told him he messed up.