I am the target of more criticism today than ever before in my life. Sometimes, it causes me to feel like giving up and just get on the sidelines. But if I am honest, I also have more loving support and encouragement today, than ever before in my life also. As a matter of fact, some good friends are both critics and encouragers. So I cannot mention criticism that I suffer, without mentioning the support that I am blessed by.
For me, the acid test of Truth about the properness of my actions is whether, my heart’s motives are to love and serve God and others or are they self serving? This is a daily question. And a daily walk. Each day I bow before my Saviour quite literally and ask Him to disclose to me the motives of my own heart. And ask Him to help me replace my will, with His will.
It’s cool really. God is able to help me do things in His strength that I could not otherwise do. I know I’m making a little progress, when I love and care about the ones criticizing me. I know I’m progressing even more, when I try to listen and learn from their opinion. And I know I’m really getting somewhere when I Genuinely pray for them. Jesus said “love your enemy.” This is easy to quote. But very hard to do.
Don’t get me wrong. There are many times to stay the course and keep on, keeping on, when you know you’re doing the right thing, for the right reasons. But even when you must be steadfast and resilient, you can do it, with a good, cheerful, non-aggressive attitude, with the help of God.
In fact, that’s one of the biggest ways to deal with criticism. Always trying to do the right thing for the right reasons, with the help of God. Know your own heart and listen to your own conscience! Because even when others don’t appreciate your position or actions. You will know in your heart that you are trying to do the right thing, for all concerned.
One of the biggest blessings in my life is that God has taught me to be the same guy when no one is looking, as when everybody’s watching. I named my blog; “Guts is the Key.” And that’s really one of the deepest truths about me. That I believe in being real. Yes I have lived up to the nickname “Slam” and I’m enthusiastic and hard driving. But I have the comfort in my mind and heart of knowing , that I am hard driving to do, what I honestly believe is right. I guess this hard driving nature, naturally engenders criticism.
I joke with people that my wife is my worst critic. That they never need to worry about me getting the big head, as long as I’m married to Dawn. And that’s the truth. But in all honesty, she is my not my worst but my “BEST” critic. And my closest confidant. I have learned to trust her implicitly. She is true to the Core.
Recently, to my surprise, my little wife came fervently to my rescue when I felt distraught with opposition. Yeah, I’m a tough guy. But when my feelings are hurt. They’re really hurt. And to see that little woman fiercely stand up for me warmed my heart. So warm, that it reminded me that I must be doing something right. Because you can’t pull one over, on Dawn. She calls it like she sees it.
Actually, Dawn is not my biggest critic. I am my own biggest critic! I drive myself relentlessly, to serve God more fully and bless people more genuinely. Sometimes, I have to be reminded to get off my own back. But I wasted a lot of time in self-service. And I’m determined make as much difference as I can, with the rest of my days.
So even though it’s hard at times, to wade through criticism. I will Press On. There are very few true enemies = People that must be overcome and stopped. Most people, that could be perceived as enemies are just friends that we have not learned yet, to appreciate properly. They have learned to have their own deep passions and concerns but wound up with some different conclusions than we have. Most times, I can learn from these people, if they’re open-minded enough to learn a little from me.
There’s a lot of talk about walls these days. And I get it and NO, I will not be lured into a discussion about it. My point is that there’s not enough talk about building bridges. And that’s what I want to build, more than anything. Bridges from men and women to God. Bridges from good-hearted men and women to each other. And yes, Bridges to my critics, who the most times are just friends I haven’t learned yet, to properly appreciate.
Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.
Proverbs 27:6 NLT
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
Proverbs 27:6 KJV