Tag Archives: criticism

Ezekiel 27, 28; James 4

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:11-12

I see and hear it all over, judgment and criticism spewed out everywhere, on every one; people playing judge and jury for people they may not even know. Society as a whole has seemed to really embrace this holier-than-thou attitude, especially since the rise of social media and blogging. Everyone has the right to their own opinion; they have the right to make their own choices in how they walk their journey in life. But, for heaven’s sake, your decisions better look like mine, or else. Right!?…Wrong!

Don’t bad-mouth each other, friends. It’s God’s Word, his Message, his Royal Rule, that takes a beating in that kind of talk. You’re supposed to be honoring the Message, not writing graffiti all over it. God is in charge of deciding human destiny. Who do you think you are to meddle in the destiny of others? James 4:11-12 (MSG)

I’ve been there, both on the giving end of judgment and the receiving end. Neither one is pleasant. Hearing criticism against me and the choices that I have made in life, for myself, for my family is hurtful. I know I am doing the best that I can in any given moment, and in the words of Iyanla Vazant, “When I know better, I do better.”

As a mother, it is even harder. At any given moment, I am being judged based on my choices to co-sleep, baby wear, breast feed, vaccinate, switch between cloth and disposable diapers, discipline based in love versus rejection, spend time on my smart phone while the kids are playing at Chick-fil-A, let my kids watch TV, etc. I am even judged by some on the decision to not shave my girls head to ‘make their hair more beautiful’, for allowing my youngest to comfort herself with a pacifier, and to let my girls drink juice when they are sick.

I don’t need any help from anyone else to feel like a failure; I already struggle with that lie from the enemy, even though I know that I am doing a good job despite the circumstances of my life. What I need, instead of disapproval, is help; a village surrounding me to pick up the pieces when I inevitably fumble.

Even as I am writing, I am convicted in my heart that I too often stand in that place of judgment. I also condemn others for choosing differently from me. Whether I judge people on their politics, their lifestyle choices, their parenting skills, their actions or beliefs, in that twinkling of an eye, I have put myself over them and over God to find them guilty. It doesn’t matter if I have posted my views all over the internet, gossiped to my friends, or simply considered it in my thoughts; I have spoken evil against another…I have sinned. And, who am I to judge my neighbor?

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded…Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:7-8; 10

When I realize that I have been judgmental or that I need to forgive someone who has judged me, I know that it is time to get right with God again. I need to step down from the judge’s bench and let Him have His seat back. I need to humble myself, submit myself once more to Him, because God is the only One who can clean my hands, purify my heart, and keep my mind in alignment with His love, grace, and mercy.

When I repent and when I offer forgiveness, my heart grows with compassion, and what I once saw through blinders, I am now able to see through truth. I am able to see better through the defenses that have been put up by others to protect themselves from judgment, and I am able to break down the walls I’ve built around myself. Instead of judging someone else for being different than me, I am able to choose to love them right where they are, no matter what their life looks like. And when I am feeling judged, I am able to focus more on the intention behind the critique, which many times is actually care and concern, glean God’s truth from the comments, and choose to be vulnerable, to share my struggles and even ask for help.

It takes courage to stop standing in the place of judgment, to choose to not be the one to cast the first stone. It takes courage to forgive others, then submit the criticisms received to God and ask for His truth and wisdom. And, when I step out in courage, I am honoring God and living by His Word, which is the best way to live.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, ESV Through the Bible in a Year, Ezekiel, James, New Testament, Old Testament

Job 32, Job 33, Matthew 14:1-21

So these three men ceased answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.  Then the wrath of Elihu, … was aroused against Job.  Job 32:1-3 

And the king was sorry; nevertheless,  … he sent and had John beheaded in prison.  Matthew 14: 9-10

Found at: www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Job%2032,%2033;%20Mt%2014:1-21&version=NKJV

Job 32-  So these three men ceased answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.  Then the wrath of Elihu, … was aroused against Job; Job 32:1-3

            But please, Job, hear my speech, And listen to all my words. … Truly I am as your spokesman before God;  Job 33: 1, 6

But was Job “self-righteous”? 

               The LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.  Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.” So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the LORD commanded them; for the LORD had accepted Job. 42:7-9

 

             Ouch!! I have been like Elihu and Job, though not at the same time. How many times have I judged someone by their “suffering circumstances”? “Oh, if she only,… then God would….”  No doubt people have condemned me seeing my personal situation. External sight is Never perfect vision. People even condemned Jesus because of His life, and Jesus was/ is God!

                Lord God, because You have deemed that my present life circumstances are more like Job, You have grown me to be less like Elihu. Oh, how I yearn to grow in You Christ Jesus! In Your humility, love, compassion, intercessory prayer, wisdom, to Your praise and glory!!  

                      Lord God, thank You for being Love and loving me according to Your Character!! I am grateful that You are the only One Who truly sees me, with all my flaws, needs and yet beneath Your Son’s Blood Atonement! Lord Jesus, You look at my heart , that You recreated anew and which is progress and process by You. 1 John 4:16; 1 Corinthians 13; Romans 8:1; 1 Samuel 16:7; Ezekiel 36:25-27; Jeremiah 31:33; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Matthew 11:28-30; Philippians 1:6 

            Lord Jesus Christ, please forgive me for being quick to judge, and make me “swift to hear, slow to speak” and make my heart, mind and spirit quick to ask for Your Wisdom to discern for Your healing, love and hope!! Thank You for situations which sometimes feel like Job’s so that I may be changed for Your better use. Romans 14:10; Matthew 7:4-5; James 1:19-20; James 1:5; Isaiah 64:8; Romans 8:16-17; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

             My circumstances do not always dictate my internal relationship with the Lord God Almighty. My heart, attitude and bent is not always visible to others, or even myself. Only God sees my heart. And the same is true for my view of each person.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

Dear Reader, Please see Points to Ponder below… for discussion.

Matthew 14     Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison … the daughter of Herodias danced … and pleased Herod. Therefore he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Matthew 14:6-7

            The king misjudged John the Baptist. He didn’t know John, nor the God he served. At a lustful whim he made a promise he regretted – beheading the prophet of the Lord God Almighty. “And the king was sorry; nevertheless,  … he sent and had John beheaded in prison.” Mt 14:9-10

     When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes…  followed Him on foot from the cities. And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick” and fed thousands with twelve full baskets still remaining.  Mt 14:13-14

            Quick wrong judgements cost lives and break hearts. John the Baptist died and Jesus Christ was saddened. Yet the Son of God kept on obeying His Father!   John 12:49-50; Hebrews 5:8

             Lord God Almighty, I give You my heart again with Your joy and hope. Make me aware of my thoughts and actions, to not condemn and to not take in wrongful condemnation. May I be teachable by Your Holy Spirit and live a life reflecting Your Truth and Love and glorifying You alone!! 

Points to Ponder: Dear Reader, Have you judged others? Generous in mercy, overly generously to their detriment, or critical and harming? Please do not treat yourself harshly.  …Just for discussion.

How are we to handle people? 1 Thessalonians 2:7; 2 Timothy 4:2; Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 1:28; Colossians 3:15-17

What would happen if you and I did this?  Matthew 6:10

Does God judge? 1 Samuel 16:7; Proverbs 15:3; Hebrews 4:13; Psalm 96:10-13; 1 Peter 4:5

 How can God forgive? Romans 3:23; Romans 5:8-11; Romans 5:21; Matthew 11:28-30; Psalm 51:1-6; Psalm 51:10-13; Romans 10:8-13; 1 John 1:9; Romans 8:1

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

5 Comments

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Job, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized

1 Samuel 10; Romans 8; Jeremiah 47; Psalm 23,24

Then Samuel took the flask of oil and poured it over Saul’s head and kissed him, saying, “Has not the Lord anointed you leader over his inheritance?” 1 Samuel 10:1

Saul was called to lead, he was prepared by God, he was anointed.  Samuel announced Saul as king.

Then he brought forward the tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan, and Marti’s clan was chose,.  Finally Saul son of Kish was chosen, But when they looked for, he was not to be found.  Do they inquired further of the Lord, “Has the man come here yet?” And the Lord said,  Yes he had hidden himself among the baggage. 1 Samuel 10:21-22

So why does he hide?  Did he fear that he was not capable of these responsibilities that God prepared him for? Do you think Saul doubted his abilities or God’s ability and wisdom?

Saul also went to his home in Gibeah, accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God had touched.  But some troublemakers said, “How can this fellow save us?” They despised him and brought him no gifts.  But Saul kept silent. 1 Samuel 10:26

Isn’t this typical that all leaders face criticism.  As Christians we stand out in a crowd,  we face criticism and there are many who despise us because of our faith.  Does that weaken our faith, make us fearful, less confident.  Does it deter us away from our task of speaking Gods word or instead does that make us that much stronger?

What then shall we say in response to this?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up  for us all- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  Romans 8:31-33

I hope this post comes to mind the next time God calls me to lead.  I’ve always been told that God qualifies the called and that he doesn’t call the qualified.  But I’m human, my confidence buckles under criticism.  On second thought my confidence is non existent when it comes to leading.  And then I feel like a failure.  But then I have His word to set me upright and equipped for all challenges.  Just like those Weeble toys.  If we are grounded in His word, we will not be pushed down by our critics or our enemies.

This might be the first time I’ve ever thanked God for being bottom heavy!  Reference Romans 8:28  Yep, that might be stretching it a bit.

I’ll close with Psalms 23:5

You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

Cindi (rustiqueart)

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Samuel, Psalms, Romans

Genesis 16, Nehemiah 5, Matthew 15, Acts 15

Scripture

“You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13 (NIV)

Observation

heart (blame)

You are the God who sees me … an excerpt of Hagar’s conversation with an angel in the desert as she flees Abram and Sarai. (Sarai blames God because she can’t have children; then blames Abram for getting Hagar pregnant after she told him to take Hagar as a wife. It’s easy to blame when things don’t go as imagined.)

In Nehemiah, he wants God to remember him and all that he had done. (Economic crisis and complaints against their own countrymen who took advantage of the poor. Doesn’t complaining seem justified under the circumstances?)

In Matthew, Jesus explains that the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart. (The Pharisees looked for anything out of place and criticized the disciples for breaking traditions. Pride often gets in the way.)

And in Acts (15:8), Peter says, “God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did us.” (There was some disagreement on salvation of men who weren’t circumcised. That’s the way it is.)

Application

I noticed a recurrence of blame and criticism throughout these chapters. All kinds of fault finding and finger pointing speaking to me. A bit convicting. So I tried to focus on something else: heart.  I am not surprised that while I looked for a connection that I could try to distance myself from, God still finds me, sees me, speaks to me.  (Oh, the words I’ve spoken, thoughts I’ve had, and blame I’ve placed on others–these things taking root in my own heart. Sometimes things don’t go my way, or seem completely unfair, or attack my pride, or challenge my thinking.)

Prayer

Father, you are the God who sees me. You see into my heart and know my innermost thoughts. There is no hiding from you. (Lord, when I’m tempted to blame others for my unhappiness, help me to stop short of it. Please bring it to my attention, so that I can choose forgiveness or hold myself accountable. Help me to stop any bitterness from taking root in me.)

Courtney (66books365)

4 Comments

Filed under Genesis, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament