Summary: Fifty-two practical ways of dealing with criticism.
Dealing With Criticisms (Philippians 2:13-16)
Without an ability to deal with criticisms many people give in to discouragement, anxiety or angry over reactions.
Quote: Advice from Dr. Mitchell’s life: Someone in his congregation pointed out several faults in him and his preaching. Instead of retaliating, or trying to defend himself, he looked at the woman and said, "If what you say is true, would you mind praying for me?" Source Unknown.
Quote: "Lord, send us such a floodtide of Thy love that we shall be washed beyond the mire of doubt and fear.’
- C. H. Spurgeon
Illustration: Lord, deliver me from the lust of vindicating myself.
Quote: Being criticized is not a problem if you develop a positive way of dealing with it. Winston Churchill had the following words of Abe Lincoln framed on the wall of his office: "I do the very best I can, I mean to keep going. If the end brings me out all right, then what is said against me won’t matter. If I’m wrong, ten angels swearing I was right won’t make a difference."
Bits & Pieces, April 29, 1993, pp. 15-16 .
The following are guidelines that help us learn how to react to criticisms as overcomers, just as Jesus did.
1. Remember Jesus Christ’s ability to endure hardships, criticisms and misunderstandings. The Pharisees accused Jesus of being Beelezebub - the son of the devil. Blessed are the persecuted because of righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Quote:Martin Luther said - "God does not love us because we are valuable, but we are valuable because God loves us."
D.L. Moody said - "I know of no truth in the whole Bible that ought to come home to us with such power and tenderness as that of the love of God."
And W.J.C. White said - "Our total welfare is the constant concern of God’s loving heart."
Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11,12)
Thank God for the privilege of being identified closer with Christ and the prophets. The worst thing you can do is to react with anger, become irritable and respond with vengeance. Refuse to allow yourself to become embittered but allow every criticism to make you a better person.
2. Solomon knew something about responding positively to criticism when he wrote, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (Proverbs 15:1)
Application: Ask the Lord for helping in reacting in a calm controlled and loving way to your critics. Your adversaries will eventually be ashamed of themselves by your consistent Godliness.
3. Blessed are the gentle since they exhibit power under control. They are able to maintain their peace under the heat of criticisms , misunderstanding and injustices. Being meek does not equate with weakness.
Application: Ask the Lord to give you powerful intercessors who will speak on your behalf and pray for your during times of testing.
4. Blessed are the poor in spirit as they recognize that we are all sinners and are in need of God’s mercy, grace and patience.
Application: Ask people, "Please be patient with me God is not finished with me yet."
5. Remember that pride goes before destruction and a haughty or self-righteous spirit comes before stumbling. Do not always feel that you have to defend yourself as the Lord is your great advocate - He will fight the battles for you.
6. Love is long-suffering. Ask the Lord for a great infusion of His grace in maintaining your peace and tongue under the heat of attacks. Press on for the upward call of God in Christ Jesus and His Spirit. Focus your attention on things that are above rather than on things that are on the earth with all of its politics, palavers and ego problems.
7. Follow the example of Jesus who when questioned about His authority by the Pharisees said, "If you answer my question, I will tell you where my authority comes from. "Where did John get his power." The Pharisees were afraid to answer publicly for fear of the crowds. Jesus said, "Neither will I tell you where I get my authority!"
8. Occasionally you may be wise to defer, delay, obfuscate, procrastinate or prevaricate (speaking evasively) in order to avoid a confrontation. Try not to get into a heated argument. Paul wrote Timothy,
"Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. The Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth." (2 Tim. 2:24-26)