On the evening of Friday, August 2, at the Summer fast we heard from the senior pastor of the Embassy of God church, Sunday Adelaja, share on the wisdom and revelation of God. He taught us how to take criticism and explained why it is a blessing.
Criticism – it is a grace.
Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness;him rebuke me—that is oil on my head.My head will not refuse it,for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers. (Ps.141:5)
Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.(Prov.15:32)
A wise man takes criticism to their advantage.
Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you. Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning. (Prov.9:8-9)
Criticism should be valued.
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. (Prov.27:5)
Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.(Prov.27:6)
Whoever loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich.(Prov.21:17)
Everyone who does something will be criticized for it.
You will be criticized when you:
• doing something meaningful at the level of city, country, and world;
• are free to express your opinions without conforming to the status quo;
• want to be a somebody.
“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2Tim.3:12)
Elbert Hubbard, (1856-1915) American writer, publisher, artist and philosopher: “If you want to avoid criticism – do nothing, say nothing, and be a nobody.”
Criticism should be a reason to rejoice.
Blessed are those who are 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. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.(Mat.5:10-12).
If no one is criticizing us, it means we are no one and do not even deserve criticism. If a person is criticized it’s an honor.
Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States (1901-1909): “Praise belongs not to the critics, not to the one who laughs when a strong stumbles, and not to those who point out other people’s mistakes. Honor belongs to the man who was there in the arena, whose face was stained with dust and sweat and blood;who fights valiantly, makes mistakes and stumbles again and again. Who are led by great talent, great ideals – and he did not spare himself in the name of a worthy cause. And if he succeeds he knows the triumph of high achievements, and if he loses, at least loses with courage, and therefore will never be privy to those cold and timid souls who don’t know victory and defeat.”
Fear of criticism and persecutionso dominates every person,that it is scientifically proven that we are depleted and exhausted not because of physical fatigue but because we are striving from morning until evening:
• to cater to everybody;
• to look good;
• to behave properly;
• to conform to public opinion.
This takes a lot of energy, and that’s why we have the stress and exhaustion. For example, Pastor Sunday is never tired because of criticism.
How much effort do you spend trying to adjust to public opinion?
In order to perceive critics one must be strong. If you are not able to be an upstart,
In order to perceive critics one must be strong. If you are not able to be an upstart, you will see that all your actions will be limited.
“If you falter in a time of trouble,how small is your strength!” (Prov.24:10)
For example, at school there is peer pressure from classmates and not everyone can overcome it.
“CRITICISM IS A POISON TO THE WEAK AND A CURE FOR THE STRONG”.
However, when a man knows who he is in Christ Jesus, these problems disappear.
There are some advantages and benefits to criticism.
Criticism does more good than we think. Even if it is not fair, but interpreted correctly, it could enrich a person. It all depends on the reaction of the man and how he takes the criticism. If people could know the blessings of persecution and criticism, then they would be looking for it day and night.
Thank you to all who hinder us,
Who are going to harm us,
Who destroy our plans,
And try to hurt us!
Oh, if only these people
Could understand what role
They play in our lives
By causing us this pain!
Soul, not knowing the losses,
Soul, not knowing offense,
How happiness in life will be measured?
The joy of forgiveness, what to compare it with?
Well, how could we become wise and develop
Without these kind-evil people?
By them creating obstacles
There are thousands of ideas
Full of goodness and light!
And I will repeat it a hundred times: THANK YOU for all of IT!
Well, what would we do without YOU!
Kinds of blessings from criticism, corrections and persecutions:
1. Criticism promotes personal growth
Any criticism encourages people to examine themselves. Hear correction, then look inwardly; analyze the criticism and apply it to one’s self. This requires a person’s humility and repentance. Any process of introspection humbles us.
For example: David fled from Absalom.
Instead of decapitating the head from that man, David – a man of humility and contrition, preferred to deal with himself and examine himself: “Maybe Shimei is right?” The process of cross-checking always makes a person better.
2. Criticism makes it possible to improve yourself.
While a person can not hear the criticisms aimed at him, he cannot see his own flaws, when criticism is voiced, people can remember the situation. So re-check yourself and make sure it was right or vice versa, and admit it when you were wrong. This is good because it makes a person analyze, test and validate their actions once again. This process of rechecking always promotes growth.
The Russian Empress Alexandra Fedorovna Romanova said, “Humility is not the ability to tell about your faults, but the ability to listen when others are talking about them”.
3. Criticism is the opportunity to hear a different opinion.
Even if somebody disagrees with me, at least I am informed that there is another point of view. Its good when people have expressed their opposing view, as it develops my thinking apparatus. When people express their views, which I have never heard before, this broadens my horizons.
4. Criticism makes it possible to “dissect yourself”.
“Dissecting yourself” – means to be open to criticism; changing ourselves, despite the pain. Many people do not want to do so, but in this case, such a person will remain the same forever. There are some things this person would never change in his life, if somebody did not tell him about it.
5. Criticism develops the skills of listening.
It forces us to learn to listen to others. If a person is hostile to any criticism, he will never hear anything useful anyone has to say. However, if the person is open to:
• listen, at least out of courtesy, and
• try to change,he forces himself to practice the art of listening to the others.
Many of us don’t know how to listen, ESPECIALLY to another person’s viewpoint.
6. Criticism helps to practice forgiveness.
As first, when the person is criticized, he is offended, angry and irritated. On the contrary, when we choose to behave honorably: we try to understand the other person and put ourselves in his shoes. This gives us the strength to forgive and to cover the other person.
Tadao Yamaguchi, a Japanese lecturer, journalist, entrepreneur: “If you want to become stronger: learn to forgive. If you want to be strong:unlearn how to be offended. “
2. Advantages of criticism for the emotional part of man.
1. Criticism teaches control over emotions:
Better a patient person than a warrior,one with self-control than one who takes a city. (Prov.16:32)
People who have not learned to control and properly show their emotions, do not get along insociety. That’s why we need to practice this.
2. Criticism forces us to use intellect and logic.
For example: A man has been accusedof promising to come home at 10.00 and did not come. There may be a good reason why it did not happen, so instead of an emotional response,we need to be able to calm down and explain what happened. Thanks to criticism we learn to use our brain and construct a logical argument, i.e. to give evidence without emotion.
3. Criticism finds the hidden “skeletons in the closet”.
Many of us have areas in our lives which we prefer to hide or do not want others to find out about. Therefore if somebody reveals a secretand if a person is sincere and honest with himself – it helps him to begin working on himself. If a person is offended, it means that he has no peace with God and with himself.
4. Criticism helps to achieve emotional stability.
If a person is able to maintain composure when he is criticized, blamed or corrected, it will help him in other areas of life. Exposure, self-control, and the ability to control our emotions,is useful in all walks of life. If a man does not know how to deal with criticism, his life will be chaotic only because he has not learned to control himself.
5. Get rid of the wrong stereotypes.
For example: Someone may think that if our parents punish us, it means that they do not like us.
Or: “I’m a girl!” – What’s the difference? Life will beat you no matter if you are a man or a woman.
Another example: Many parents believe that children need to indulge, forgetting that then it can cause problems.
Criticism can help to get rid of these stereotypes.
6. Criticism helps us to be clear-headed and competent.
The fact that people have a negative attitude towards criticism or even cannot take it, indicates a high degree of being spoiled. To be Spoiled is a misperception instilled in the context of reality – an exaggeration or untruth. Only criticism can help a person face reality, and makes us stronger, more adequate to face reality and more holistic.
7. Criticism helps people become less categorical
• giving other people the right to make mistakes,
• allowing the existence of other views that are different from mine,
• treating people from the position of the presumption of innocence.
“THERE ARE ONLY TWO VIEWS: MINE AND WRONG.” Criticism helps to discover that I could be wrong.
8. Ability to accept release from stress.
Science has proven that the ability to agree with one’s imperfections releases stress and tension, bringing a sense of happiness, peace, balance, joy, and satisfaction within. Stress is emotionallydefined by the difference between the desired and the reality, between the person you want to be and who you really are.
3. Criticism can improve relationships.
1. When all is expressed; then there is peace.
The first thing which we want to do – is to jump into the argument and close the mouth of the offender, but because we live in a civilized society, and there are witnesses, we are forced to restrain our emotions. There is no peace, as long as there is no negotiation. If no claims were made, people silently continue to hate each other.
2. Criticism helps to humble our egos.
People’s hearts are opened when there is:
• recognition of imperfections,
• taming of the ego,
– It disarms and transforms anger into mercy
Once a person demonstrates their flexibility, EVERYTHING CHANGES.
“God opposes the proudbut shows favor to the humble.” (1Peter 5:5)
3 . Criticism – is open truth, not gossiping in your absence.
Frankness and openness lead to a healthier relationship because you have done away with hypocrisy, flattery and sucking up. Bottled-up emotions are the wrong reaction and will have a destructive effect on all spheres of human life, because emotions sooner or later will come out.
4 . Quench Criticism: do not respond to every word.
When a person is not subject to criticism, he does not know how to handle it and starts barking like a dogat each word directed against him.
“WHENON THE ROAD OF A THOUSAND MILES, IF YOU WATCH EVERY DOG THAT BARKS AT YOU, YOUWILL NEVER GET TO THE END.”
When a person has the ability to listen to criticism, over time, he will clearly know which things are worth arguing about and whichare not.
5. Thanks to criticism it is possible to distinguish friends and partners.
Often due to conflicting situations we obtain relationships that could have bypassed us otherwise. According to the law of differences, the meaning of life is not in finding somebody like ourselves, but in learning to communicate with and interact with different types of people, thereby enriching our lives.
6. Man is aware of his imperfections.
As a result of criticism, a person recognizes his need for forgiveness and the grace of God. He gets less offended by others, and simultaneously, less critical and angry towards other people. Hereby we have a more harmonious relationship between people.
Criticism helps to save time.
1. Saves time learning from our own experiences.
A man who knows how to take criticism saves time which he would have spent on making mistakes in the process of learning the lessons he was told by his critics.
“If you think it is expensive to study, then you’ll find out how much it will cost you by your foolishness later” (Robert Kiyosaki).
2. Business is not affected, if you are able to switch quickly.
If a person is able to cope with criticism, he is able to quickly:
• overcome offense,
• forgive others,
• draw conclusions, and move on.
This is a strong advantage as such people are saving their own time. Such hardening comes only through the pressure of criticism, corrections and persecution.
“Nobody cries over a broken cup. Just throw away the pieces and wash the floor.” (Claudia Piñeiro)
3. Do not waste time stepping on the same rake.
A person can spend years of his life, again and again, repeating the same mistakes, not knowing how to get out of the consequences of these errors and how to avoid them in the future.
4. The right attitude towards criticism builds confidence.
What should we be prepared to do?
In this world there will always be unconstructive, unfair and unjust criticism, especially if the person being criticized is trying to do something great in life. Because of jealousy, some people will only talk about you and condemn what you do. If you do not learn to take it, then you stand at risk of dying from resentment, bitterness, pain, failure, and rejection.
Jose Mourinh, Portuguese football coach and current coach of London “Chelsea”: “If you please people, then you’re good . If they hate you, you are the best. “
What helps to bring confidence in yourself?
When a person is able to perceive unfair and unconstructive criticism, then he is able to:
• compare what he has heard with himself
• calmly assess what is true and what is not
• know who he is
• allow others to have their own point of view
• understand that he cannot please everyone.
Criticism helps you to get to know yourself and have confidence in yourself.
Charlie Chaplin: “When I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the right time, so I could be calm. Now I call it “self-confidence”.
The best way to deal with criticism
When somebody makes comments about you, take a pen and paper and write down all the points they say. In a parallel column, write your answers. It will help you not to sink into emotions. If the criticism will not touch your emotions, then it is easier to deal with the comments. The presentation on paper also allows you not to focus on the emotion but on the facts.
Criticism is a hint at what to pay attention to.
If criticism touches a man, it means that he has a weak point and internal flaws which he cannot see. Thanks to criticism, a person can begin to work on himself, so the next time it won’t be the subject of discussion – in any case, it makes a person stronger.
Criticism is a measure of a person’s personality.
Criticism recognizes human greatness, his features and uniqueness. If a person is a “nobody”, no one will notice him or even pay any attention to him. Once we learn to analyze our reactions and constructively respond to any situation, we will enter the sphere of our calling much quicker.
We need to apply any criticism selectively.
We need to be able to consider criticism as the field of wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30). It is important not to rush to reject and discard all, but to be able to select that which is useful.
Getting rid of negativity gives us confidence.
When a person is criticized, 80% of is thoughts will be negative thoughts towards his critics or himself. If you understand that negativity is a poison that man produces, and learn to consciously ignore the situation and not allow these negative thoughts to take root, you will become more emotionally stable and self-confident.
Criticism cuts the ground from under the feet of self-righteousness.
A fair criticism forces us to come to terms with the fact that we are not perfect. As long as a person walks in self-righteousness, he condemns others and triumphs over others. However when a person discovers that just as everyone has drawbacks, he is not better than the people around him, he will be ready to change:
“I work on myself, but Lord help me.”
Questions for homework :
1. Prove that criticism is a mercy from God.
2. Why is the ability to accept criticism wise?
3. Who is most criticized in life and why?
4. E. Hubbard : “If you want to avoid criticism – do nothing , say nothing , and be a nobody .” How do you understand this sentence?
5. What are five reasons that criticism promotes personal growth?
6. What are the eight reasons that criticism promotes the emotional stability of a person?
7. Prove that criticism can improve relationships with other people.
8. Prove that criticism helps develop self-confidence.
God bless you and help you to take criticism in the right way!
From the Summer fast
2 August, 2013, Kiev city
Press-center of God Embassy church
Translated by Valeria Mashchenko
Edited by Bridget Smith