30 Jul 2023

A young friend of mine talked to me about some criticisms that he received. He was visibly disturbed by them but he wanted to do the right thing. So, he asked what would I do if I am in his situation. I laughed and told him that the both of us will handle them differently, due to our wide age gap. Also, I encouraged him not to feel bad about any feedback or criticism, no matter how severe. I told him that when you live long enough, you will be criticized no matter what you do. Also, we are likely to criticize others too.

He insisted on an answer, so I said these. Firstly, be thankful that someone listened to you enough to commend and have the courage to give you feedback. Feedback is the foundation of our improvement. I am not about to think that I am so good that I am at the apex. Then carefully think through the feedback; are they correct or just misguided? If they are correct, then make the change. There is no harm but good that will come out of it. If misguided, then ignore them. There is really nothing good that will come out of trying to defend yourself, just a waste of precious time.

To be humble enough to receive such “harsh” comments may take many years of denying yourself. I told my young friend that I am already in my sixties, what is there that I have not heard? Some are good, I followed. Some not so good, I ignore. No big deal, life goes on. Be happy.

Finally, I added: “There will always be time that you did well, and other times when you did poorly. Do not bash yourself but seek to do better each time. Listening with a humble heart will get you further than fighting back. Furthermore, for the same thing there will be people who felt you did well, and others who feel otherwise. Accept both views for they have their merits. Keep improving for the glory of God and not anything else.”

Then the two of us laughed, continued to make fun of each other and enjoyed another cup of coffee. Dying to self is an important part of humbling. Laughing at ourselves is an important part of dying to self.

God bless,
In Christ’s service,

Barry Leong







Barry Leong


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