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Just Zip It! – A Word on Criticism

Photo credit: Verano y mil tormentas. via Photopin, CC

You don’t have to be in a car to run people down, and there is always something wrong with a man, as there is with a motor, when he knocks continually.

Christians should watch & pray, & not watch & criticise.

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If criticising gives you pain, then do it; If it gives you the slightest pleasure, keep your mouth shut.

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A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown.

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David H. Fink, author of Release from Nervous Tension, wrote an article for the Coronet Magazine, in which he made a striking suggestion as to how we can overcome mental and emotional tensions.
As a psychiatrist for the Veterans Administration he was familiar with 10,000 case histories in this field. Thousands of people, who were mentally and emotionally “tied up” had asked Dr. Fink for some short, magic-button cure for nervousness. In his search for such a cure he studied two groups; the first group was made up of thousands of people who were suffering from mental and emotional disturbances; the second group contained only those, thousands of them, who were free from such tensions.
Gradually one fact began to stand out: those who suffered from extreme tension had one trait in common-they were habitual faultfinders, constant critics of people and things around them. Whereas the men and women who were free of all tensions were the least faultfinding. It would seem that the habit of criticizing is a prelude or mark of the nervous, and of the mentally unbalanced.

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A guest sees more in an hour than the host in a year.

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Do you know that a man was once court-martialed and sentenced to a year’s imprisonment for being a discourager? It happened during the Boer War at the siege of Ladysmith. The fortunes of the town and garrison were hanging in the balance. This civilian would go along the lines and speak discouraging words to the men on duty. He struck no blow for the enemy, not one. He was just a discourager, and that at a critical time. The court-martial judged it a crime to speak disheartening words in an hour like that.

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The critic is a person who has you write it, sing it, play it, paint it, or carve it as he would–if he could!

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Search thy own heart; what paineth thee in others in thyself may be.

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Wisdom teaches us to wink at many of the injuries that are done to us, & act as if we did not see them.

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The person who is never criticised is not breathing.

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It’s not the people who tell all they know who start trouble–it’s the people who tell more than they know.

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Before criticising a sermon, why not consider how much it actually cost you? You might conclude that you got your money’s worth.

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Never be afraid to test yourself by your critic’s words.

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To all my faults my eyes are blind;
Mine are the sins I cannot find.
But your mistakes I see aplenty;
For them my eyes are twenty-twenty.

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Both Dr. Henry Clay Trumbull and Dr. Charles G. Trumbull, the illustrious editors of The Sunday School Times, used to say that when criticism comes we ought to see whether there is any truth in it, and learn from that truth, and not let our thoughts be distracted by the fact that the criticism may not have been given in the right spirit.

In the face of criticism, by word or by letter, it is well to

  1. Commit the matter instantly to God, asking Him to remove all resentment or counter-criticism on our part, and teach us needed lessons;
  2. “Consider him that endured such contradictions of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds,” remembering that we ourselves are very great sinners, and that the one who has criticized us does not really know the worst;
  3. Take account of the personal bias of the speaker or writer;
  4. Remember that “a soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Prov.15:1);
  5. If the criticism is true, and we have made a mistake or committed a sin, let us humbly and frankly confess our sin to Him, and to anyone whom we may have injured;
  6. Learn afresh that we are fallible, and that we need His grace and wisdom moment by moment to keep us in the straight path;

Then,–and not until then–”forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before … press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

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The moon could not go on shining if it paid any attention to the little dogs that bark at it.

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Sometimes a reprimand is only a grouch in disguise.

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 A preacher had on his desk a special book labeled “Complaints of members against one another.” When one of his people called to tell him the faults of another he would say, “Well, here’s my complaint book. I’ll write down what you say, and you can sign it. Then when I have to take up the matter officially I shall know what I may expect you to testify to.” The sight of the open book and the ready pen had its effect, “Oh, no, I couldn’t sign anything like that!” and no entry was made. The preacher said he kept the book for forty years, opened it probably a thousand times, and never wrote a line in it.

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F.W. Boreham tells of the happy soul whose home is the Other End of Nowhere. He has two pockets. One has a hole in it and the other is carefully watched that no hole develops in it. Everything that he hears of a hurtful nature–insult, cutting remark, gossip, unclean suggestion, or any such thing–he writes on a piece of paper and sticks it into his pocket with the hole. Everything which he hears that is kind, true, and helpful, he writes on a piece of paper and puts it in the pocket without the hole.

At night he turns out all that is in the pocket without the hole, goes over all that he had put into it during the day, and thoroughly enjoys all the good things that have come his way that day.

Then he sticks his hand into the pocket with the hole and finds nothing there, so he laughs and rejoices that there are no evil things to rehearse. Too many of us reverse the other, putting the evil things in the pocket without the hole so that we can mull over them again and again, and the good things in the pocket with the hole so that they are quickly forgotten. Paul’s way was: “whatsoever things are true…think on these things.”

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Photo credit: Verano y mil tormentas. via Photopin, CC

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