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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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How Do You Handle Criticism?

One thing I have learned in life is that it is much easier to criticize the way other people handle their own personal problems than it is to fix your own. As a person who’s profession included evaluating the performance of others, I have also discovered that there is no such thing as “constructive criticism” when you are on the receiving end of the conversation. The tongue may be a soft blunt instrument, but it is deadly.

James, the brother of Jesus, said: “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.” (3:6) James also writes, With it [the tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” (3:9-10)

A good rule to keep in mind when it comes to criticism is that you should not criticize another unless you have the heart to help. This is best accomplished when you have a close friendship with the person you are offering criticism to. This should always be done with the self-awareness that a perfect Judge judges you with grace and mercy. Criticism without grace and mercy is un-Christian. The faults you overlook in yourself should also be the faults you overlook in others.

What should you do when others criticize you? Harry A. Ironside answered that question with this advice: “If what they are saying about you is true, mend your ways. If it isn’t true, forget it, and go on and serve the Lord.”

Some people develop the habit of criticism as a means of trying to make themselves look better than others. Something is seriously wrong with a person who consistently does this. A Christian should always remember that his own faults cannot be hid from the supreme Judge of the universe. There will come a day when all we think we have hidden away will become known before all.

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