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Thursday, September 1, 2016

A Critical Spirit

I told the ladies in my Wednesday night Bible class that I chose to do the book we are doing for myself.  Learning to "season my words" is something I constantly have to work on.  Maybe you do, too.  Last night's lesson was about critical words.  I used a lot of the book we are using, but also found so many great thoughts from all different sources online.

About having a critical spirit, ask yourself these questions:
Do you criticize and pass judgment on others?
Do you find yourself with a negative disposition, always finding fault with something or someone?
Is it difficult for you to see the positive in a person or a situation because the negative is so glaring in your eye?
Are you compelled to give your critical point of view for the good of all mankind?
Did these questions step on your toes?

If you're like me some of these stepped on my toes, for sure. When I am honest with myself, sometimes I'm way too critical.

*CRITICISM IS AN INSULT ATTACHED TO A COMPLAINT*

Not all criticism is bad, of course.  Constructive criticism is helpful. Constructive criticism is the process of offering valid and well-reasoned opinions about the work of others, usually involving both positive and negative comments, in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one. The purpose of constructive criticism is to improve the outcome.  It's striving to create a positive change.

I love this story of how a preacher handled criticism or maybe constructive criticism.  He didn’t dismiss it or argue or get upset.

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?”

*When we are criticized we ought to ask ourselves whether the criticism contains any truth. If it does, we should learn form it, even when it is not given with the right motivation and in the right spirit.* 


*A REAL FRIEND WILL SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE, MAKING US AWARE OF THE PROBLEM AND GIVING US AN OPPORTUNITY TO CORRECT IT.*

When we are criticized, let's accept what is true and act upon it, thereby becoming a stronger person. He who profits from rebuke is wise. H.G.B.

  Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. Proverbs 27:6

Richard Walters called this negative feedback “beneficial bad news”. He said this:

*We grow by changing the things we need to change, and we can’t change them until we know about them.*

A friend’s honest, but kind advice can save us from future problems.  

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice. Proverbs 27:9

You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. it’s a weakness to get caught up in either one. 
- John Wooden

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. - Elbert Hubbard

We are going to be criticized. The key is to learn from that that is constructive and to not allow the hurtful to stop us from shining. This story sums it up:

The story is told of a judge who had been frequently ridiculed by a conceited lawyer. When asked by a friend why he didn't rebuke his assailant, he replied, "In our town lives a widow who has a dog. And whenever the moon shines, it goes outside and barks all night." Having said that, the magistrate shifted the conversation to another subject. Finally someone asked, "But Judge, what about the dog and the moon?" "Oh," he replied, "the moon went on shining--that's all.”

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