Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
In Part 1 we saw how the Israelites criticised their leader Moses about their lack of food. God provided for their need. He gave a promise for a future. Again they complained, criticising Moses. The reason? He had run out of water. Once again they murmured against him, complaining about the fact that he had led them out of Egypt. What had been so horrible before looked so good in the difficult moment. Poor Moses—broken by criticism, he falls on his face before God and cries out, ‘”What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me'” (Exodus 17:4).
If you’re going to do something worthwhile in your life, it’s inevitable someone will criticise you. Harry Truman, who received intense criticism during his term of office, put it this way: “If you can’t stand the heat, you’d better get out of the kitchen!” The poet and singer Bob Dylan said, “Don’t criticise what you can’t understand.”
A Very Hard Test
The American rabbi Joseph Telushkin wrote a book titled Words That Hurt, Words That Heal. At his seminars, he would ask, “Can you go for 24 hours without saying any unkind words about or to anybody?” And, invariably, someone at the seminar would say, I can go for 24 hours without saying any unkind words. And he, then, asks them if they live alone. Of course, we laugh. But quite a large number of people would say, No, I couldn’t go for 24 hours and not say something that might hurt someone. And, remember, that would go for words you would say to your spouse, to your children, to your workmates, your neighbours, your friends—anybody.
Charles Spurgeon and D. L. Moody were two of the greatest preachers of the 19th century. Although Moody had never met Spurgeon, he admired him greatly. One day while in London Moody arranged to meet Spurgeon. He found his residence and knocked on the door. Much to Moody’s horror, Spurgeon opened the door with a cigar in his mouth. Moody exclaimed, “How could you, a man of God, smoke that?” Spurgeon took the cigar from his mouth, placed his finger on Moody’s stomach and replied, “The same way that you, a man of God, could be that fat!”
It is easy to see the faults in others, but difficult to see them in ourselves! Faults are like the headlights in a car—those of others seem more glaring than our own! Usually, there is some grain of truth in every criticism. If we will listen to what people are saying, we will usually profit from it. Despite criticism, we must be who and what we really are. If people don’t accept you for who you are, they will not accept you for who you try to be!
Reasons Why People Criticise
1 – Some people criticise because they have critical spirits.
In my years of pastoring and dealing with people in secular work I have discovered that there are people in this world that are not happy unless they are moaning, groaning, and complaining about something. I have heard people ask, How is so-and-so doing today? And the reply would be, He’s fine. He’s down on his job complaining about everything and everybody!
It’s quite easy blaming our problems on somebody else. There’s the story of a man driving with his wife. They pulled into one of those old-time full-service petrol station. An attendant came and washed the car’s windshield. The driver said, It’s still dirty. I’d like you to wash it again. The attendant washed it a second time being careful to get all the bugs off but the man screamed that it was still dirty. The attendant washed it a third time but the man was still unhappy and told attendant he would get him fired because he was the lousiest windshield washer he had ever seen. About that time the man’s wife reached over and took the man’s glasses off his face, cleaned them with a Kleenex, placed them back on his head. The man sank in embarrassment as he viewed a perfectly clean windshield!
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How true that critical people view others through their own dirty glasses! They become angry at what they perceive to be dirt on other people, when in reality they are looking at others through the dirt on their own hearts!
(To be continued in Criticism Hurts – Part 3)