This unwarranted criticism has been devastating. The words spoken were harsh and impersonal. Their painful impact has lasted long after the verbal punch was withdrawn.
You have defined this criticism as unwarranted and it is unwarranted in a natural sense. At an evidential level this criticism is not true. It would be easy for you to move past this moment listening only to friends who have risen up to protect and defend you. Their protection and defense is welcomed, but it is not always the deeper work of the Spirit.
The spiritual target of this criticism exists in a deeper place than your initial response. This target exists at the core of your being at the level of your personal identity. While these criticisms may not be true there still exists in each of them a personal defense mechanism – a trigger - that God wants to disable. These are the triggers that fire back your response of self-justification and keep you from fully discovering your God-birthed identity. This self-justification is designed to rob you of your time and energy and get in the way of the good things God has planned for your life.
God is taking you into a new season of intimacy with Him and He is using these unwarranted criticisms and the resulting inward journey, to teach you how to hear His voice at a deeper level free from the reactive trigger of self-justification.