Saturday, March 22, 2008

"INESCAPABLE CRITICISM"...mach 22 weekly devotion

INESCAPABLE CRITICISM

A cartoon in a newspaper depicted a Cowboy speaking to his horse, “Well, you’ve been a pretty good ole gal” The Cowboy continued, “reliable, not as fast as some.” The second frame of the cartoon showed the horse interrupting and responding, “I SAID I wanted a feedbag! Not feedback!”

Whether we want it or not, people seem quite ready and even anxious to give us feedback. It would be great if feedback was always positive, but often times it is negative and critical.

Author John Steinbeck was criticized about one of his novels, and he responded, “Where were you when the page was blank?”

As long as we live in relationship with others, we will face criticism. The key is to learn to manage the stress of it. No amount of wealth and power will protect us from criticism. Even the President of the United States, who is one of the most powerful men in the world, is criticized.

In last weeks YOUR OPINION MATTERS, a poll was taken asking “Who gave you your recent dose of criticism.” The top three poll results were found:

1. 33% of voters were criticized by a FAMILY MEMBER
2. 26% of those polled said a SPOUSE criticized them
3. 13% said their BOSS recently criticized them

It appears that we cannot escape criticism even from those closest to us.

· No amount of goodness or holiness will shield you from negative criticism.
Jesus was criticized!

· People will find fault in spite of your pure motives and willingness to sacrifice for their best
interests.
Fault was found in Apostle Paul by others!

The Apostle Paul discovered three ever-present judges. We face the same critics as Paul did:

1. JUDGE #1 …ANY SIGNIFICANT OTHER PERSON
This is anyone whose opinion of you carries weight. This can be a parent, child, friend, pastor, boss, coworker, spouse, etc. For Paul, the first critic was a collection of church members in Corinth.

2. JUDGE #2…YOURSELF
You may be a soft judge or a hard judge, but you will check in daily to accomplish the job of self-evaluation.

3. JUDGE #3…GOD
God is holy and all knowing. He is full aware of your flawed behavior, thoughts and motives. He also knows when we have been falsely accused or unjustly criticized.

1 CORINTHIANS 4:1-5
“Men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. (2) Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. (3) I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. (4) My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. (5) Therefore, judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.”

It is easy to ignore the criticism of your enemies, but much tougher to accept the critical feedback of those on your team. If you find yourself facing criticism from those around you, here are some suggestions to avoid an angry response:

Don’t be upset every time someone criticizes you. It is not a disaster.
Don’t shape your behavior just to prevent others from criticizing you.
Don’t reward the angry outbursts of others. Ignore them when they yell at
you, but be very attentive when they speak reasonably.
Don’t be intimidated. Speak up and say, “Please talk to me reasonably.”
Be kind and loving. Just because someone is angry at you does not mean
you have to be angry back.
When there is truth in criticism, admit it. Do not lie and defend yourself.
Give others the right to be angry with you sometimes and do not be shocked
and offended when it happens.

Paul weighed the Corinthians’ criticism against his own conscience. Paul knew he was completely committed to God and he knew that his motives were pure. When we encounter criticism, regardless of the message and source, we should analyze it for truth. Paul’s honest look inward led him to declare a verdict of innocence but he was wise and mature in recognizing that he was not the final and most accurate judge.

If we strive to be like Paul when it comes to the critics in our lives, we will recognize that God is our final and ultimate judge. Sometimes the complete verdict of those who have wronged us will not be revealed to us in this life.

(Vs. 5 “He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.”)

You may have people in your life that second-guess your character and even criticize your behavior and performance, but the One who has the authority to condemn us has extended us grace. (Jesus was judged in our place)

Romans 8:1 “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”.

It is my prayer that you will accept the truth that God is all-knowing and the final judge when it comes to the criticism in your life, whether it is inflicted by yourself or others.

I would love to hear how you overcome criticism in your life. Thanks for checking in on this weeks devotion. I pray it has challenged your heart today. Have a great week!


Blessings, Laurie

YOUR OPINION MATTERS:
Please vote in this week’s poll, your opinion really does matter! Please answer the question, “When someone is angry at me I am …..”

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
RICHARD BRAUNSTEIN“It is possible to give without loving, but it is impossible to love without giving.”

SCRIPTURE OF THE WEEK:
1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, all of you should be of one mind, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds.”

7 comments:

Mary Beth said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog. I LOVE Rusty and Dorinda. We went to Bible College together and my husband grew up in AR so he knew them before college. The family of GOD is so cool how we all become connected.

Your post are great. I will definitely be reading.

For me and criticism... I tend to take things so personally. My husband has always told me take what they say... see if there is any truth... smile and say to that person, "THANK YOU SO MUCH For sharing that."

Well... I added one more step to that... Something that may not be all that spiritual... Especially in ministry where we are subject to so many 'opinions' and 'words' from those whose feathers get ruffled...

I wrote about on my blog last May in a post entitled, "Idiots." Just a little humor to lighten those times and put it in perspective.

Cheri said...

This was great. I'm liking the suggestions on reacting to critcism.

Cheri said...

Hey, didn't you get a new look on your blog? I like it!!

Laurie Adams said...

Cheri,
I was trying to make some changes and this is as far as I got with it. I am not creative like many others are with their blog pages. But thanks for noticing. Have an awesome day!

Tara Sloan said...

This is FANTASTIC!!!!!

Laurie Adams said...

TARA,
Thanks for checking in on my blog and I hope you will come back!

Deborah said...

Thanks for stopping by my site and leaving such an encouraging comment. This post is awesome!

Blessings to you!