I find this is a very difficult application. My first response to criticism is to be defensive. That is especially true when the criticism comes from someone who is not interested in helping me, but who is out to get me. When an opponent criticizes me, he usually goes after a real weakness. However painful this may be, it is really God’s grace at work. If I can respond humbly to this criticism, I can learn from it. It is pride that turns it from a positive to a negative. When it is all about me, it is an attack on me. However when I realize it is about Christ and not me, I can let it have the impact in my life Christ wants it to have. It will humble me, but it will also make me more like Christ. Ultimately those two things, humility and Christlikeness, cannot be separated, for humility is an indespensible element of Christlikeness (Phil 2:5–11).