Accepting Criticism

  • August 07, 2018
Tuesday 07

Proverbs 10:17

Nobody likes criticism. It can hurt, especially when unsolicited, and is sometimes delivered with unkind words and a harsh spirit. However, we must be careful not to reject the reproof without first considering whether it’s valid.

God can use an honest, direct person to convey something we need to hear. Criticism forces us to examine ourselves. God’s goal is that we grow in spiritual maturity and holiness, but we all have blind spots that keep us from seeing the areas He wants to transform. If we fail to listen to a reproof He allows to come our way, our spiritual growth could be stunted. However, this doesn’t mean all critiques are valid. That’s why it’s important to respond well and evaluate criticism correctly.

• Do not immediately reject the comment, blame the person, or defend yourself. Instead, consider what was said, and ask God to help you discern if it’s true.

• Thank the person for his interest in you and explain that you’ll reflect on his observation. If he was sincere, he’ll be appreciative, but if his intentions were negative, this may disarm him.

• Evaluate the criticism and determine what exactly is under scrutiny—your beliefs, your character, God ... ?

• View this as an opportunity for growth, and if necessary, apologize.

Instead of allowing criticism to lead us into anger and self-pity, we should let it do its work in our life. We can’t allow hurt or anger to derail what God wants to do in us—namely, make us more Christlike. And isn’t that what we all want?

Bible in One Year: Isaiah 63-66

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17 He is on the path of life who heeds instruction, But he who ignores reproof goes astray.

1 Who is this who comes from Edom, With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah, This One who is majestic in His apparel, Marching in the greatness of His strength? It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save."

2 Why is Your apparel red, And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?

3 I have trodden the wine trough alone, And from the peoples there was no man with Me. I also trod them in My anger And trampled them in My wrath; And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, And I stained all My raiment.

4 For the day of vengeance was in My heart, And My year of redemption has come.

5 I looked, and there was no one to help, And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold; So My own arm brought salvation to Me, And My wrath upheld Me.

6 I trod down the peoples in My anger And made them drunk in My wrath, And I poured out their lifeblood on the earth."

7 I shall make mention of the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, According to all that the LORD has granted us, And the great goodness toward the house of Israel, Which He has granted them according to His compassion And according to the abundance of His lovingkindnesses.

8 For He said, Surely, they are My people, Sons who will not deal falsely." So He became their Savior.

9 In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old.

10 But they rebelled And grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them.

11 Then His people remembered the days of old, of Moses. Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of His flock? Where is He who put His Holy Spirit in the midst of them,

12 Who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, Who divided the waters before them to make for Himself an everlasting name,

13 Who led them through the depths? Like the horse in the wilderness, they did not stumble;

14 As the cattle which go down into the valley, The Spirit of the LORD gave them rest. So You led Your people, To make for Yourself a glorious name.

15 Look down from heaven and see from Your holy and glorious habitation; Where are Your zeal and Your mighty deeds? The stirrings of Your heart and Your compassion are restrained toward me.

16 For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us And Israel does not recognize us. You, O LORD, are our Father, Our Redeemer from of old is Your name.

17 Why, O LORD, do You cause us to stray from Your ways And harden our heart from fearing You? Return for the sake of Your servants, the tribes of Your heritage.

18 Your holy people possessed Your sanctuary for a little while, Our adversaries have trodden it down.

19 We have become like those over whom You have never ruled, Like those who were not called by Your name.

1 Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, That the mountains might quake at Your presence--

2 As fire kindles the brushwood, as fire causes water to boil-- To make Your name known to Your adversaries, That the nations may tremble at Your presence!

3 When You did awesome things which we did not expect, You came down, the mountains quaked at Your presence.

4 For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, Nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.

5 You meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness, Who remembers You in Your ways. Behold, You were angry, for we sinned, We continued in them a long time; And shall we be saved?

6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

7 There is no one who calls on Your name, Who arouses himself to take hold of You; For You have hidden Your face from us And have delivered us into the power of our iniquities.

8 But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.

9 Do not be angry beyond measure, O LORD, Nor remember iniquity forever; Behold, look now, all of us are Your people.

10 Your holy cities have become a wilderness, Zion has become a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.

11 Our holy and beautiful house, Where our fathers praised You, Has been burned by fire; And all our precious things have become a ruin.

12 Will You restrain Yourself at these things, O LORD? Will You keep silent and afflict us beyond measure?

1 I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me. I said, `Here am I, here am I,' To a nation which did not call on My name.

2 I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts,

3 A people who continually provoke Me to My face, Offering sacrifices in gardens and burning incense on bricks;

4 Who sit among graves and spend the night in secret places; Who eat swine's flesh, And the broth of unclean meat is in their pots.

5 Who say, `Keep to yourself, do not come near me, For I am holier than you!' These are smoke in My nostrils, A fire that burns all the day.

6 Behold, it is written before Me, I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will even repay into their bosom,

7 Both their own iniquities and the iniquities of their fathers together," says the LORD. Because they have burned incense on the mountains And scorned Me on the hills, Therefore I will measure their former work into their bosom."

8 Thus says the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, And one says, `Do not destroy it, for there is benefit in it,' So I will act on behalf of My servants In order not to destroy all of them.

9 I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, And an heir of My mountains from Judah; Even My chosen ones shall inherit it, And My servants will dwell there.

10 Sharon will be a pasture land for flocks, And the valley of Achor a resting place for herds, For My people who seek Me.

11 But you who forsake the LORD, Who forget My holy mountain, Who set a table for Fortune, And who fill cups with mixed wine for Destiny,

12 I will destine you for the sword, And all of you will bow down to the slaughter. Because I called, but you did not answer; I spoke, but you did not hear. And you did evil in My sight And chose that in which I did not delight."

13 Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, My servants will eat, but you will be hungry. Behold, My servants will drink, but you will be thirsty. Behold, My servants will rejoice, but you will be put to shame.

14 Behold, My servants will shout joyfully with a glad heart, But you will cry out with a heavy heart, And you will wail with a broken spirit.

15 You will leave your name for a curse to My chosen ones, And the Lord GOD will slay you. But My servants will be called by another name.

16 Because he who is blessed in the earth Will be blessed by the God of truth; And he who swears in the earth Will swear by the God of truth; Because the former troubles are forgotten, And because they are hidden from My sight!

17 For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.

18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing And her people for gladness.

19 I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; And there will no longer be heard in her The voice of weeping and the sound of crying.

20 No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, Or an old man who does not live out his days; For the youth will die at the age of one hundred And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred Will be thought accursed.

21 They will build houses and inhabit them; They will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

22 They will not build and another inhabit, They will not plant and another eat; For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands.

23 They will not labor in vain, Or bear children for calamity; For they are the offspring of those blessed by the LORD, And their descendants with them.

24 It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.

25 The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent's food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain," says the LORD.

1 Thus says the LORD, Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest?

2 For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being," declares the LORD. But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.

3 But he who kills an ox is like one who slays a man; He who sacrifices a lamb is like the one who breaks a dog's neck; He who offers a grain offering is like one who offers swine's blood; He who burns incense is like the one who blesses an idol. As they have chosen their own ways, And their soul delights in their abominations,

4 So I will choose their punishments And will bring on them what they dread. Because I called, but no one answered; I spoke, but they did not listen. And they did evil in My sight And chose that in which I did not delight."

5 Hear the word of the LORD, you who tremble at His word: Your brothers who hate you, who exclude you for My name's sake, Have said, `Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy.' But they will be put to shame.

6 A voice of uproar from the city, a voice from the temple, The voice of the LORD who is rendering recompense to His enemies.

7 Before she travailed, she brought forth; Before her pain came, she gave birth to a boy.

8 Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once? As soon as Zion travailed, she also brought forth her sons.

9 Shall I bring to the point of birth and not give delivery?" says the LORD. Or shall I who gives delivery shut the womb? " says your God.

10 Be joyful with Jerusalem and rejoice for her, all you who love her; Be exceedingly glad with her, all you who mourn over her,

11 That you may nurse and be satisfied with her comforting breasts, That you may suck and be delighted with her bountiful bosom."

12 For thus says the LORD, Behold, I extend peace to her like a river, And the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; And you will be nursed, you will be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees.

13 As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; And you will be comforted in Jerusalem."

14 Then you will see this, and your heart will be glad, And your bones will flourish like the new grass; And the hand of the LORD will be made known to His servants, But He will be indignant toward His enemies.

15 For behold, the LORD will come in fire And His chariots like the whirlwind, To render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire.

16 For the LORD will execute judgment by fire And by His sword on all flesh, And those slain by the LORD will be many.

17 Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go to the gardens, Following one in the center, Who eat swine's flesh, detestable things and mice, Will come to an end altogether," declares the LORD.

18 For I know their works and their thoughts; the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and see My glory.

19 I will set a sign among them and will send survivors from them to the nations: Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshech, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have neither heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they will declare My glory among the nations.

20 Then they shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as a grain offering to the LORD, on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem," says the LORD, just as the sons of Israel bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the LORD.

21 I will also take some of them for priests and for Levites," says the LORD.

22 For just as the new heavens and the new earth Which I make will endure before Me," declares the LORD, So your offspring and your name will endure.

23 And it shall be from new moon to new moon And from sabbath to sabbath, All mankind will come to bow down before Me," says the LORD.

24 Then they will go forth and look On the corpses of the men Who have transgressed against Me. For their worm will not die And their fire will not be quenched; And they will be an abhorrence to all mankind."

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Publish Date August 17, 2018
Turning the Other Cheek

Turning the other cheek looks different in every situation, but Jesus made clear it is never retaliation.

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