"Better is open rebuke than hidden love." Proverbs 27:5 ESV
Having never been a coach myself, I appreciate the motivational and interpersonal skills required by coaches. Several years ago, I discussed with one of the boy’s coaches what traits he liked in players. The first thing he mentioned is that the player is coachable. Above athleticism and aptitude is listening and receiving constructive criticism, then using it to improve.
Being able to accept rebuke is not something most of us enjoy. At first, the words may sting, and our feelings hurt. When we recognize that there may be truth in the reprimand, and acknowledge it is coming from a friend in love, we can appreciate the message. It is only a friend that cares enough about us to help us, those, not our friends, or more than willing to point out our failings to others.
That is the receiving end. The other side of the coin is delivering the message. We can find guidance in Galatians 6:1, "Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted."
Whether we are receiving or delivering constructive criticism, we can find additional instruction in James 1:19, "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger."
God, we give you thanks for the gift of the Holy Spirit and friends who admonish us. Please help us listen to the message’s content with the love in which it is intended, pause, and reflect before we speak, and when we respond, do so in gentleness and love. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.