God Speaks Through Criticism

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Psalm 119 : 114  NKJV:

“You are my hiding place and my shield;
  I hope in Your Word.”

Psalm 141 : 5  NKJV:

“Let the righteous strike me;
  It shall be a kindness.
  And let him rebuke me;
  It shall be as excellent oil;
  Let my head not refuse it.”

Christian author and educator, Daniel Schantz gives us some valuable insight from which we can all learn a great deal if we have a good, positive and non-complaining mental attitude.  He once stated, As a college teacher I live in dread of student evaluations.  It’s not because I get bad reviews, and it’s not because I feel I’m above criticism.  It is just that I always forget the nice things they say and never forget the bad things.  I have a tendency to beat myself up as it is, and when students add their own whacks, I reel from them.  But after I work through the shock and grief of student invective, I find some nuggets of gold.

Criticism is necessary, I think, because we cannot see ourselves clearly.  “Who can understand his errors,” David acknowledged in Psalm 19 : 12  NKJV.  My critics are like mirrors that show me where I’m presentable and where I have egg on my face.  Every criticism may contain some candle glow of truth that will help me make a good class better.

The most important thing I’ve learned from evaluations is the need to be a gentleman when I criticize others.  When I have to correct a student or a staff member, I need to be as gentle and careful as a brain surgeon.  After all, I’m dealing with students who may already be on the verge of dropping out of school.

Ironically, when I “speak to the rock,” instead of “striking the rock,” as Moses did, I get much better results.

Lord, correct me when I’m wrong, but please be gentle with me.”

May I say to you that it is really very easy to do the things in life that you like to do,…that you  enjoy doing…isn’t it?  Safe and comfortable expended efforts carry with them little or no worries, concerns, or fears.  Resultantly, they are most usually attempted and/or completed with ease and efficiency.  There is never any trepidation or hesitation in doing familiar, safe, and desirable things or tasks.  But such familiar things most usually carry with them little or no risk; little or no benefit, or blessing.  They can, in reality, over the long term of repeated doing become mundane and even boring.

All success is achieved in the fringe of fear….not in your comfort zone.  In fact, your comfort zone is indeed your failure zone.  

There can be no growth while you are in your comfort zone because you are never stretching yourself into the fringe of fear or growing to higher levels of competency. Whenever you dwell within the boundaries of your comfort zone,… whenever you stay cozily doing the same repeated and familiar tasks,….then life begins to lose some of its excitement.  When life’s excitement begins to dwindle you begin to fade and drift away into oblivion. 

Now listen to what I have to say.  If you truly want to become successful and reach the upper levels of achievement and reward in your chosen field of endeavor, then you must be willing to do what failures and less determined people refuse to do. You must be willing to do the “exact opposite” of what those who try to make it to the top and don’t.  The facts of the matter are that most folks,…a vast majority of people in the world are not going to become successful.  They will not make it to the upper 5 % of income producers.  These folks are not bad people.  They are not all sluggards and lazy folks. They all certainly are well able to make it, but they are not sufficiently motivated or driven from within to change enough to allow success to flourish and blossom in their lives.  It is a sad thing to observe….a Divinely Created human being,…one of God’s finest creations,….well able, but totally unwilling to grow themselves to higher levels of service and assistance so as to serve and benefit their fellow man.

If you choose to become successful all you need to do is to observe the masses of people and make absolute certain that you do the exact opposite of what it is that they do.  Observe the masses and do the opposite.

Now whenever you go the wrong way on a one-way street, (the exact opposite of what everyone else does), two things are immediately going to happen to you: (1) You are going to be noticed,…and (2) You are going to be criticized.  

That is the exact reason you must know WHY you are going against the masses.  You see dear friend, in order to become successful you will have to learn how to graciously handle both of those experiences.  You have to clearly understand Why you are going against the grain of public opinion,…Why you are going against the masses…moving in the opposite direction the masses are moving.  Your Why has to be greater than the negative influences of your critics,…or else you will fall prey to them and quit moving forward toward the accomplishment of your dreams.  

In other words, if you are not properly prepared with a qualifying dream or other Why,….once you are criticized, you will succumb and give up on your “Why” and in so doing, insure your personal failure. Your personal cause,…purpose,…reason,…dream….has to be big enough and clear enough and important enough to you personally that it will  sustain you through the negative recognition and criticism.  That is why success is defined by successful people as the progressive realization of a worthwhile dream or goal.  It is a Process. And it occurs and is completed over an extended period of time.

God allows criticism to come into your life to help correct you or help you to change directions or activities.  I really don’t know anyone who enjoys or welcomes criticism.  But if it truly comes from the Lord, then I would highly recommend you welcome it,….that you receive it with love and thanksgiving,…and that you immediately act on the implied corrections as provided through the criticism itself.   

Many authors of success principle books warn us to never Criticize, Condemn, or Complain in our inter-dealing with other people.  In a completely earthly sense, criticism destroys and repulses the recipient.  It can harm, injure, or even terminate personal relationships.  It can become an ugly thing.  I guess that is why none of the intelligent ones really likes it or seeks it.

On the other hand, whenever criticism is a godly or spiritual thing, then it should be accepted as a redirection of an individual’s steps,….as a nudge back onto the path that God wants you to travel, so as to accomplish His Purpose for your life. 

As you travel the “Road Less Travelled”, i.e. the “Road To Success” you are expected to learn more,…to grow more,…to move more into higher and greater levels of life.  It is to be expected that you will be corrected as you are growing to greater and greater places of knowledge and wisdom.  Everyone will make mistakes.  All will fall off their “roads” now and then.  No one is perfect and goes straight to the top.  God’s Criticism given to you directly from the Master or through other chosen people is only for your personal benefit.

Graciously and mercifully receive any and all criticism that comes into your life….even if it initially angers or upsets you.  Obedience to God’s Word, proven through actions,…is the way a mature Christian should be and should live.  

God’s Word clearly tells us how to handle criticism from others.  In the Book of Psalms, Chapter 119, verses 161-168  NKJV God gives us clear marching orders as we live and deal with other people.  

The Word says:

(161)   “Princes persecute me without a cause,
            But my heart stands in awe of Your Word.

(162)   I rejoice at Your Word
           As one who finds a great treasure.

(163)   I hate and abhor lying,
           But I love Your law.

(164)   Seven times a day I praise You,
           Because of Your righteous judgments.

(165)   Great peace have those who love Your law,
            And nothing causes them to stumble. (nothing shall 
            offend them).

(166)   Lord, I hope for Your salvation,
           And I do Your commandments.

(167)   My soul keeps Your testimonies,
           And I love them exceedingly.

(168)   I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies,
           For all my ways are before You.”

Continually be a miner,…shifting through the gravel bars of life always looking for,…panning for,….being in search of,….some nuggets of gold.  

Always remember….every criticism may contain some candle glow of truth that will help you make a really good life… even better!  Hallelujah!

Peace And Love to All of You………………….Poppa Bear

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