Is there anything that pierces you deeper than a harsh, judgmental word?
Every now and then, I have to stop and readjust my whole outlook on what I do and why. I find there are times when I lose my equilibrium and delight, under the onslaught of criticism.
There are two kinds of criticism. One is called “constructive.” It is designed, in the critic’s mind, to bring a positive outcome. However, constructive criticism can be as painful to the one being criticized, as that which is called “destructive.” Both hurt. Criticism can drag you down.
But, thank God for criticism! It can be an amazing stabilizer. Moses grew spiritually in his dependence on God through criticism and the author of Proverbs constantly urges us to seek wisdom and correction.
One reason criticism upsets me so much, is that I know some of it is deserved!
Yet, there’s a difference between criticism, and slander. Every so often, my name is slandered. This gets back to me through the grapevine. I find myself upset. However, I am not nearly as disturbed by slander, as I am by criticism.
Slander can be shut out because it is simply dishonest. What is said has no real facts. There are a jumble of assumptions and lies spoken. It disturbs me, because others could believe the untruths.
I try in every way to clear up deception in these situations.
Criticism gets to me in a much more subtle way. So often the critical word has some truth to it! My response to it is a clear sign that someone is calling me out at a vulnerable point, and if not careful, my pride gets wounded!
Jesus Himself was despised and rejected of men. He was a Man of sorrows. The Bible says that He was acquainted with grief. Those who followed Him were very fickle. One moment they expressed their affection. The next they turned it off.
He was plotted against, and lied about. One day He was praised as a hero. The next day He was nailed to a cross. Spiritual leadership is costly. It threatens.
Stephen found this out. He could not deny his Lord. He was willing to walk into the face of his culture, declaring that the Messiah had come, and plead for his Jewish neighborhood to repent and trust Jesus Christ. Then, as they stoned him to death, in love he cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them,” Acts 7:59. He paid the price of his convictions!
I doubt that any of us will be stoned to death in a literal way for our faith in Jesus. But I will guarantee some of you are right now in the process of being stoned into a spiritual death, by the criticisms of those who mock your witness and your love of the Lord.
We all have a tendency toward criticism. To be honest, we all engage in this petty activity. It can be against other people, or maybe we are critical of the way God seems to do things!
How sad it is to be caught up in discontent, dissatisfied with those around us, and with the very God who has created us and revealed himself in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Yes, we are to tell the truth In love. There is that occasional constructive criticism which can help our brother. However, we have no right to destroy another person. We can put an emotional overload on others through our criticism.
We can make life unbearable for them. Perhaps we call it truth. There is a place to speak the truth. But it needs to be cushioned with love, or we will destroy others with the very same criticism that hurts us so much.
Four questions which will help you handle criticism:
One, is it valid?
Two, am I doing my best?
Three, am I willing to suffer for Christ?
And four, am I doing it to others?
Give everything you’ve got to the life God wants you to live. Don’t let criticism get the better of you. God will provide the strength. Face it with the resources to move ahead in spite of it.
Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord.
|Mary Lindow has a passion for encouraging others in all generations and careers or vocations to live and express excellence through personal integrity, healthy accountability, and wise management of talents and skills. She is a sought after keynote inspirational and humorous speaker and teacher throughout the United States internationally in Ministers conferences, International Spiritual leaders Conferences, and in National and International training seminars for various organizations.|
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