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Archive for Critics


Are You a Critical Person?

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“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (Ephesians 4:29, NLT)

Are you a critical person? I’m not talking about critical in the sense of vital importance, as in you play a critical role in an organization. Neither do I intend it in the sense of someone who appraises art or writes food or movie reviews. I’m talking about the kind of critic that negatively criticizes someone else or someone else’s work, usually excusing it with the postscript “I’m my own worst critic,” which may or may not be true. Some Bible translations treat the words “critical” and “judgmental” interchangeably. Being judgmental is the every day person’s description of being critical.

Being critical (or judgmental if you prefer) produces several negative implications in one’s life, even if much of it is unspoken. Let me give you six and please feel free to add to it if you wish.

  1. Being critical keeps us focused on ourselves and our own elevated opinions, resulting in unhappiness. It causes us to lose objectivity, perspective, and even our sense of humor.
  2. Being critical blocks us from positivity and creativity, rendering us ineffective in solving even the simplest of life’s problems.
  3. Being critical prevents us from having and maintaining authentic, meaningful relationships, and will often result in retaliation and resentment.
  4. Being critical makes it impossible to live in the flow of the Holy Spirit’s love, grace and mercy. (see Ephesians 4:30-32)
  5. Being critical usurps the work of God’s Spirit in the life of another being. If we honestly do see a character flaw in someone else we need to remember that God has not delegated that particular work to us. God has no deputy judges.
  6. Left unchecked, being critical will sow a field of pride that will produce a harvest of hubris, self-righteousness, and fear. Yes, fear.

The number one sin Jesus spoke against was against the sin of being judgmental. In the Sermon on the Mount he even went so far as to say that the standard that we use to judge others will be the same standard God will use to judge us. (Matthew 7:1-2) I can only speak for myself, but I would rather be judged according to God’s grace and mercy, and not my own standard of excellence.

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How to Handle Criticism

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I found this great article by Mark Altrogge titled 12 Things To Do When You’re Criticized on ChurchLeaders.com. I found it beneficial and worth passing along. Enjoy!

Categories : Critics, Relationships
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How to Handle Criticism

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“You who are slaves must accept the authority of your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. For God is pleased with you when you do what you know is right and patiently endure unfair treatment. Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly. He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right” (1 Peter 2:18-24, NLT).

I spent some time today meditating and reflecting on Peter’s words concerning Christ’s response to criticism and insults. Set in its proper context, Peter is addressing those who were slaves. It might be helpful to know that during the first century in the Roman Empire, approximately one half of the world was enslaved to the other half. Peter was not writing to an obscure group, rather he addressed a common and significant problem in culture. In his attempt to bring some measure of comfort to those who were suffering at the hands of their cruel task masters, Peter pointed the readers to Christ and his example. As I reflected on this passage, I penciled out four simple words of advice that we can use when we face criticism or insults.

1. Begin with a Self Check
Peter’s premise is built upon the innocence of Christ. I won’t spend anytime here arguing human depravity or the sinlessness of Christ. But I do think that our first response to criticism is to pause and look inward for the shred of truth that may lie within. We’re not innocent in the sense that Jesus was innocent. However, sometimes we receive criticism that is inaccurate, unfair, and undeserved. We can use some simple diagnostic questions to evaluate the criticism or the insult, such as…
…Is the criticism accurate?
…Is the criticism fair?
…Is there a possibility of misunderstanding or miscommunication?
…Can I see the issue from the critic’s point of view?
To live authentically and effectively in today’s society requires a high degree of honest self evaluation.

That being said, I think this is a good place to evaluate the criticism or insult as to whether it is “truth” or mere “opinion.” We live in a day that does not know how to deliver the news without commentary and editorial opinion. Our addiction to cable news has changed our value system to the degree that we no longer can easily distinguish truth from opinion. Unfortunately, many people place equal value on opinions as they give truth. All of the editorial license, I believe, has escalated criticism and insults in our homes, schools, places of employment, and even our churches. When criticism comes, we have to own our own stuff. But be sure to winnow out the opinions and get to the truth. There is a difference!

2. Resist the Temptation to Retaliate

Even though Jesus was completely innocent, Peter pointed out that He did not retaliate or seek revenge. Jesus withstood the criticism and insults (and far worse, for that matter) without taking matters into His own hands. It’s hard enough for us to restrain ourselves when the criticism we receive is accurate. There’s something about our fallen state that desires to save face and have the last word. But it’s even harder to restrain ourselves when the criticism is inaccurate or unjust! The example Jesus set for us was to not retaliate or seek revenge when we suffer unjustly at the lips of others.

3. Trust God, Who is the Righteous Judge

I believe Jesus was a man of unparalleled self control. It would be easy to excuse our behaviors of retaliation and revenge by citing our lack of self control. But I don’t think self control or will power is the issue. Jesus was able to restrain himself in the face of criticism because his deep trust in God’s justice. Peter wrote that Jesus was able to leave all of it in the hands of God as an act of faith that God would settle all accounts at the end of the day. He did not retaliate because he did not need to. So the question is this: do you want to settle the score? Or would you prefer God settle it?

4. Be Redemptive in your Behavior

Jesus left the matter in the hands of God, the righteous Judge, and continued to behave in a redemptive fashion. He did not give his critics power over his life or his purpose. Undeterred, Jesus moved on, expressing grace and mercy, regardless of how others responded. Because Jesus chose to live in a redemptive manner, he empowers us to be redemptive in the face of those who insult and criticize unfairly or inaccurately.

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Breaking Jars

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Sandwiched between stories of malice and betrayal we find the account of Mary of Bethany who was noted in the Gospel of Mark by her extravagant gift to Jesus Christ. The first 9 verses of chapter 14 describe the episode this way:   1 It was now two days before the Passover celebration and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law were still looking for an opportunity to capture Jesus secretly and put him to death. 2 “But not during the Passover,” they agreed, “or there will be a riot.” 3 Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had leprosy. During supper, a woman came in with a beautiful jar of expensive perfume. She broke the seal and poured the perfume over his head. 4 Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why was this expensive perfume wasted?” they asked. 5 “She could have sold it for a small fortune and given the money to the poor!” And they scolded her harshly. 6 But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why berate her for doing such a good thing to me? 7 You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But I will not be here with you much longer. 8 She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time. 9 I assure you, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be talked about in her memory.”

Here are five observations from the story about sacrificial giving that I have found to be helpful.
1.  Sacrificial giving is our response to the grace of God that we have received (14:1-3).
When someone makes a sacrificial gift, our first question is “how much?”
Nard came from the root of a Hymilean plant that was imported from India. Only the wealthy possessed it. The story states that it was valued at the equivalent of a year’s income.
But the question the Bible makes much of is “why?” What motivated her extravagance? No one prompted her to do it. Jesus himself didn’t request it. It was 100% self initiated because of her thankful spirit for what Jesus had done for her and her family.
2. Sacrificial giving is without measure (14:3b).
In Bible times the customary practice of anointing was measured. Just a few drops. Or, as the old commercial used to say, “a little dab will do ya.” But Mary broke the jar and emptied its contents on Jesus. Her gesture was limitless and boundless. When you break a jar, there’s no turning back.
3. When you make sacrificial commitments to Christ you can expect critics (14:4-5).
When you start breaking jars containing expensive stuff, someone is going to become critical and even judgmental. Do you find it interesting that it was the disciples who were the most outspoken against this act? Instead of celebrating her deed, they called it a “waste.”
4.  Jesus calls our sacrificial gifts “beautiful” (14:6-7).
What the disciples called waste, Jesus called beautiful (NIV). Don’t worry about what the crowd says about your sacrifices. Jesus is pleased and calls your sacrifices beautiful things!
5. Your beautiful sacrifices will make a difference in ways you may not expect or realize (14:8-9).
Jesus told Mary that her act would prepare his body for burial. Furthermore, he said her gift would be memorialized throughout human history. I can’t imagine that Mary could forsee the fact that after 2,000 years she would be studied and discussed. With that in mind, consider these questions:
* What will be your lasting legacy in the Kingdom of God?
* How will you be remembered?
* What will people say about your contributions after you’re gone from this life?
There are many who aspire to change the world and make it a more beautiful place. But that doesn’t happen without risk and sacrifice. It doesn’t come clinging to comfort zones and measure our commitments. It happens when you start breaking jars.
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One of the blogs I frequent is The Resurgence, the blogsite of Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Today I came across this video clip that I thought was very helpful on Six Kinds of Critics. Good counsel!