Christlife Posture: Loving Like Jesus

Topic: Receiving Difficult Feedback

Suggested Approach: Choose 1 thing from each of the three boxes

OR Choose 1 from Media or Reflection + 1 from Scripture 

Media Excursions     (Watch/read/listen and be ready to discuss Q's)


  • Receiving Feedback ( Does receiving difficult feedback ever feel like this to you? Describe the emotions of the persons on each side of this photograph. What emotions might it be unfair for us to ascribe to the person giving the feedback?


  • Two Mindsets (Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D) Study this infographic.  Which side do you fall on most often.  What are the advantages to a “growth mindset”?

Video Clip

  • Men who grew up in prison find the strength to be vulnerable (PBS Newshour) In order to mature into adults, these men had to be willing to admit and take responsibility for their actions. What role do you think other inmates played in helping them see their faults?  They have also learned to understand some of the reasons behind the bad decisions they made. What do you think the balance is between taking responsibility and understanding how circumstances shaped your actions?        


  • Create in Me (J.J. Heller) Think about the difference between rescued and redeemed. How could receiving difficult feedback lead to your redemption? What other lyrics in this song relate to the benefits of receiving feedback? 


  • Read How to Receive Difficult Feedback (Steven Gaffney) or 10 Tips for Receiving Criticism with Grace (Lissa Rankin, MD) Both articles have specific helpful steps to consider in receiving difficult feedback. Which of those steps would be hardest for you to practice?  If you had practiced one of these steps in a conversation where you received criticism, how might that situation have gone differently? Can you still amend that situation? Talk it over.

  • How to Receive Criticism, part 3. (Ed Stetzer)  How can hearing both friendly and unfriendly critics impact your sanctification?  Come up with an example of a time you did grew as a result of either type.

Reflection Options  

Journal  (reflect on one or more of these questions)

  • Think of four questions you could ask a trusted friend or mentor that would help you know where you need to grow.  What stops you from asking those questions?  Choose one and actually ask it.  Journal about your response to their feedback.

  • Journal about a time you were able to grow from someone’s negative feedback. Now journal about a time that still “stings” where you feel resistant to the feedback you were given.  Don’t analyze the way the feedback was given, instead reflect on what was different about your attitude or actions as a receiver.

Quote Interaction (Agree, disagree or otherwise engage with the quote/quotes)

  • One has to abandon altogether the search for security, and reach out to the risk of living with both arms. One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing. One needs a will stubborn in conflict, but apt always to total acceptance of every consequence of living and dying.   (Morris West)

  • Let us look at our lives in the light of this experience [in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10] and see whether we gladly glory in weakness, whether we take pleasure, as Paul did, in injuries, in necessities, in distresses. Yes, let us ask whether we have learned to regard a reproof, just or unjust, a reproach from friend or enemy, an injury, or trouble, or difficulty into which others bring us, as above all an opportunity of proving how Jesus is all to us, how our own pleasure or honor are nothing, and how humiliation is in very truth what we take pleasure in. It is indeed blessed, the deep happiness of heaven, to be so free from self that whatever is said of us or done to us is lost and swallowed up in the thought that Jesus is all. (Andrew Murray)

  • A sensible friend who will unsparingly criticize you from week to week will be a far greater blessing to you than a thousand undiscriminating admirers if you have sense enough to bear his treatment, and grace enough to be thankful for it. (C.H. Spurgeon)

  • Why do any of us get upset or tense when confronted? Why do any of us activate our inner lawyer and rise to our own defense? Why do any of us turn the tables and remind the other person that we are not the only sinner in the room? Why do we argue about the facts or dispute the other person’s interpretation. We do all of these things because we are convinced in our hearts that we are more righteous than how than we are being portrayed in the moment of confrontation. Proud people don’t welcome loving warning, rebuke, confrontation, question, criticism, or accountability, because they don’t feel the need for it. And when they do fail, they are very good at erecting plausible reasons for what they said or did, given the stress of the situation or relationship in which it was done. (Paul David Tripp)

Reading & Reflection from the book, Shaping The Journey of Emerging Adults

  • MENTOR: Read “The Christlife in Identity and Purpose” (pp. 114-117).  How does your willingness to provide feedback help the young adult toward maturity?  How can you help them learn to receive that feedback even when it seems uncomfortable for them?

  • MENTOR: Read “Talk Less, Pause More” (pp. 160-161).  As you read about Holly and Bianca, think about how the mentor’s approach might pave the way to the young adult learning to receive feedback. Practice receiving difficult feedback yourself by asking the young adult for two positives and one negative of how you have been as a mentor to them so far.  

Explore Scripture

Meditate on one or more of the following passages. Always look them up in context.  Take some time to really explore the verse in relation to this topic.  How did the characters in these passages respond to difficult feedback? Or, what wisdom can you glean about receiving feedback?  Make a note of what you discover to share later.  See "Learn More About Ways to Study Scripture" below for help in getting the most out of the verse.

  • Exodus 18:13-34

  • 2 Samuel 12:1-14

  • Proverbs 12:1, 15:31-33

  • Proverbs 27:6

  • Acts 18:24-28

  • Galatians 2

  • James 5:19-20