Thesis: Sometimes the best response to criticism is no response at all.
1. It was a great moment in the history of Israel--God was going to select Israel's first king.
a. Samuel gathered all Israel at Mizpah.
b. Selection process began (20-24).
c. Everybody was happy .... or were they? (25-27a).
2. Saul is best remembered for his willful disobedience.
a. As a result God removed him from the kingship.
b. Example he leaves, however, is not completely bad (27).
b. When criticized we are faced with a choice--how will I respond?
I. WE MUST KEEP OUR PEACE WHEN CRITICIZED.
A. First impulse--retaliate! ("fight fire w/ fire").
1. Very satisfying response.
a. Illust. When your mate begins to point out some of your faults what do you do? Say: "You know honey, you're right, I really need to work on that." NO! Fight fire with fire!
b. Fighting back feels so good (2 Sam. 16:9-10).
2. What did Saul do? -- "He held his peace."
B. Tremendous strength is found in keeping your cool in the face of criticism.
1. "A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger" (Prov. 15:10).
2. Illust. Jesus--"When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly" (1 Pet. 2:23).
II. WE MUST CONTINUE TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT WHEN CRITICIZED.
A. Saul did! (1 Sam. 11:1-11).
1. Nahash the Ammonite threatened Jabesh-Gilead.
a. Men of J-G asked for a covenant (peace treaty).
b. Nahash: "Right eyes!"; JG: "Give us 7 days."
2. Word gets around & Israel begins to despair.
a. Saul: "What's wrong w/ the people; why are they weeping?" (11:5)
b. Spirit comes; kills oxen; musters army; defeats Ammonites.
3. POINT: Criticism didn't stop him from doing what he knew was right!
B. We must not allow criticism to paralyze us.
1. Some criticism will prove to be wrong!
a. Illust. President of Yale once said about a candidate for president: "If this man is elected we shall surely see our wives and daughters reduced to prostitutes, sobriety dishonored, and decency in our land will become an outcast" (of Thomas Jefferson).
b. Illust. Day after Lincoln's Gettysburg Add.,
c Chicago editor wrote: "The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat, and dish-watery utterance of a man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as President of the United States."
2. Some criticism will prove to be right!
a. That can help us rather than hinder us.
b. In nearly every criticism there is at least a grain of truth.
c. THE OYSTER: There was once an oyster whose story I tell, Who found that sand had gotten under his shell;
Just one little grain, but it gave him much pain, For oysters have feelings although they're so plain. Now, did he berate the working of fate Which had led him to such a deplorable state? Did he spend endless hours in self-pitying reflection? Did he curse out the government, call for an election? No, as he lay on the shelf, he said to himself; "If I cannot remove it, I'll improve it." So the years rolled by as the years always do, And he came to his ultimate destiny--oyster stew! And this small grain of sand which had bothered him so, Was a beautiful pearl, all richly aglow. Now--this tale has a moral--for isn't it grand What an oyster can do with a morsel of sand? What couldn't we do if we'd only begin With all the things that get under our skin?
3. When too much attention is paid to criticism several unbiblical things start happening:
a. Critics become the leaders.
b. Folks conditioned to know how to stop things.
c. More concerned with pleasing men than God!
III. WE MUST CONTINUALLY SHOW KINDNESS TO OUR CRITICS (11:12-15).
1. Expect criticism.
a. If you expect to do anything significant in this world you will be criticized.
b. Winston Churchill: "The only way to avoid criticism is to say nothing, do nothing, and be nothing."
2. Benefit from it.
3. Forget it.