Sunday, July 5, 2009

Zipped: Criticism Gone Wrong

Here is today's sermon. Listen here.

If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. -James 1:26

People who constantly criticize others often do not realize the damage they are doing.

Three Root Causes of Destructive Criticism

1. Jealousy

A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.-Proverbs 14:30

Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.
-Romans 12:15

Ask yourself the question: Am I truly happy for the good things others experience?

2. Negativity

What you say flows from what is in your heart. -Luke 6:45

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. -Philippians 4:8

Don’t be a critic; be an encourager.

We sent Timothy to visit you. He is our brother and God’s co-worker in proclaiming the Good News of Christ. We sent him to strengthen you, to encourage you in your faith, and to keep you from being shaken by the troubles you were going through. -1 Thessalonians 3:2-3

Who are you going to encourage today?

3. Profane Humor

The cut down is the most deceiving of all types of bad criticism.

Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. -Ephesians 5:4

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. -Ephesians 4:29

Jesus’ Teaching on Criticism

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. -Matthew 7:1-5

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. –Theodore Roosevelt

In the face of unjust criticism we can become bitter or better; upset or understanding; hostile or humble; furious or forgiving. –William Arthur Ward
Questions for Small Group Study or Personal Reflection
  1. Why don’t we like to be criticized?
  2. What is the difference between destructive and constructive criticism?
  3. Describe a time in the past when you have been hurt by criticism from others.
  4. Describe a time when you have grown from constructive criticism.
  5. The Bible talks about the virtue of encouragement. In your life do ou find yourself offering more criticism or encouragement?
  6. What will it take for you to become an encourager starting today?

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