Read: Psalm 141:1-5
See if there be any hurtful way in me. (Ps. 139:24 NASB)
Constructive criticism is intended to provide helpful insight that inspires the recipient towards development and success. While I may claim to appreciate constructive criticism as a tool for further growth, I will admit I don’t always receive it with a cheerful heart, even when it’s offered compassionately.
In Psalm 141, David is asking God to hear him and to protect him from the temptation to commit wicked deeds. Then he asks that the righteous may provide reproof for him, a spiritual kind of constructive criticism. This request comes less than 20 verses after a similar one in Psalm 139: “Search me . . . and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me” (vv. 23-24 NASB).
David’s requests for correction are convicting for me. I am struck by how infrequently I ask God to try my heart and convict me to change my behavior, or to use a brother or sister in Christ to speak truth when they see wickedness in me. I ask for a listening ear, but not the heart check I undoubtedly need. I seek shelter from the hurt of others but fail to ask God to reveal the ways I may be hurting others. How about you? Do you also need to ask God to search your thoughts and open your heart to spiritual constructive criticism? —Joy Petroelje
As you pray, allow the words of Psalm 139:23-24 to be a prayer for you today.
About the Author
Joy Petroelje is the director of a nonprofit human services organization. She and her husband Steve have three sons and live near Grand Rapids, Michigan. In addition to family time and her work in nonprofit administration, Joy enjoys reading, writing, and running.