Criticism

“If my life is fruitless it doesn’t matter who praises me, and if my life is fruitful it doesn’t matter who criticizes me.”

John Bunyan

Some years ago Toyota put in place a number of measures for its managers to take, two of which were particularly striking. The first was: Don’t criticise, praise. If someone does something wrong, praise him. That way he won’t be afraid to make mistakes or tell you what went wrong, and this will enable you to find a way of making improvements. Second, Toyota asked the staff to be open about any complaints they might have about their managers. So the appraisal system now worked both ways. The staff appraised the managers, the managers the senior staff, the senior managers the directors, and so on – it kept everyone on their toes, but it also encouraged everyone to do better.

Robin Sieger

Source: Robin Sieger, Natural Born Winners, 1999, London: Random House Business Books, p.62

The story is told of a monk who joined a monastery and took a vow of silence. Once a year he was invited to appear before the abbot, and he was permitted to say one thing. After the first year when he was asked what he had to say, he replied, ‘The bed is too hard!’ At the end of the second year when he was asked, he responded, ‘The room is too cold!’ At the end of the third year he was asked the same question. He replied, ‘The food is terrible. I quit!’ At that point the abbot smiled with relief and said, ‘Thank goodness! Because you have done nothing but complain ever since you got here! Think about it: even if you joined a monastery you’d still have to deal with difficult people.

Source: The UCB Word For Today, 27/7/2016 and An Enemy Called Average by John Mason, p.35

Mark Batterson writes: “Let me tell what I’ve learned about dealing with criticism. First of all, don’t let an arrow of criticism pierce your heart unless it first passes through the filter of Scripture. Second, you’ve got to come to terms with the fact that you can please all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time… You’re going to offend someone. You’ve got to decide who. My advice: Offend Pharisees, those who nit-pick and belittle while walking apart from the Spirit of God. Jesus did this very kind of offending with intentionality and regularity.”

Quote by Mark Batterson (Source: YouVersion, Chase The Lion devotional, day 5 of 7.)

A woman looked out of her window every morning and commented on the dirty laundry on her neighbour’s line. One day she noticed it was sparkling clean: ‘Maybe she’s using a new detergent,’ she remarked. ‘No,’ said her husband. ‘I got up early and cleaned the windows.’ – Hello!

Source: The UCB Word For Today, 28/1/2011

“To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.”

Elbert Hubbard

Any time you try to make your mark you’ll attract erasers!

Before you criticise someone’s efforts remember this: Amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic.

If God is in control of all things; if He is sovereign (which He is), then complaining is criticism of His control, His sovereignty and His provision. The Bible plainly tells us, “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him… conforming us to the likeness of his Son”

Romans 8:28, 29

“It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming; who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the high achievement of triumph, and who at the worst, if he fails while daring greatly, knows his place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), 26th President of the United States

Mark Batterson writes: “I don’t know how I missed this memo my entire life, but did you know you have a dominant eye? Make a triangle with your hands, fully extend your arms, and find an object to focus on. Now close one eye, then the other. With one eye, the object will move – that’s your weak eye. If you aim with that eye, you’ll miss the target every time! But with your dominant eye, the object will stay in the triangle. I’m right eyed, so I close my left eye to shoot. – I think many people are looking at life through their weak eye! If you have a critical eye, you’ll find something wrong with everything.

Mark Batterson, The Grave Robber, 2014, Grand Rapids: Baker Books, p.225

Don’t allow others to pull you down. Don’t get discouraged by people who are threatened by your success. Don’t succumb to criticism. Understand this: the only taste of success some people are likely to have is when they take a bite out you.

A couple, vacationing in Maine, visited the harbour to watch the boats return from fishing and trapping lobsters. One lobster boat docked near where they sat and unloaded buckets of freshly trapped lobsters. The wife became intrigued as she watched the lobsters scurry about in the bucket. She noticed that as soon as one lobster began to climb its way out of the pail, the other lobsters would pull it back down. It seemed to her that it would have been fairly easy for each lobster to crawl out of the bucket, except that they were always being pulled down by the others.

Lobsters, certainly can teach us about the powerful effects on envy in human nature as well. Doesn’t it seem that as soon as one person decides to stretch and climb out of the “bucket”, there are so many others clutching to pull him or her back down? Rather, we should try to support and push the other person farther along?

Brain Cavanaugh

Brain Cavanaugh, Sowers’ Seeds 6th Planting. P.89-90

“People who try to rain on your parade do so because they have no parade of their own.”

Jeffrey Gitomer

Don’t fix the blame; fix the problem!

There are usually two sides to every story; just as long as it doesn’t concern us personally.

“It’s easier to make a paying audience laugh. An audience that doesn’t pay is very critical.”

George Burns

Somebody who didn’t handle criticism very well was the German composer, Max Reger (1873-1916), who, today is better remembered for his response to a literary critic than for his musical compositions. This is how he replied: ‘Dear Sir, I am sitting in the smallest room in my house. Your review is before me. Shortly it will be behind me!’ – That’s not speaking graciously!

Similarly, here’s another example of someone who didn’t handle criticism very well. I heard of how one US Senator used to reply when he received a rude letter. He would reply by returning the letter with a note attached to the bottom, which said: ‘I just thought you’d like to know that some nutcase has been writing to me using your name and address’.

Cited in Beware The Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt by Harvey Mackay, published by Sphere Books Ltd

Before you criticise, reprimand or offer your opinion to others, THINK; is it Truthful, is it Helpful, is it Important, is it Needed, is it Kindly?

“What kind of a world would this world be, if everyone in it were just like me?”

William James (1842-1910), American Psychologist and Philosopher

Remove the ‘specky-poo’ from your own eyes before you look to criticise others!

“Clean your finger before you point at my spots.”

Benjamin Franklin

When you point a finger at someone else, notice how there are three fingers, on the same hand, pointing straight back at you!

You cannot carve out a rewarding career with cutting remarks.

When a person blames others for their failure, it’s a good idea to credit others with their success.

Jesus said, “Take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

– Matthew 7:5

(What must plank-eye do before assisting speck-eye? Why?)

“We need to be as critical of ourselves as we often are of others, and as generous to others as we always are to ourselves.”

John Stott

If you find it painful to criticise someone, then you’re probably safe to do it. But if you take any pleasure in it, hold your tongue.

It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticised anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), first lady and wife of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States

The best way to handle your critics is to simply do ‘it’ anyway. Then you can smile, turn around and say, “Nerh, nerh, nerh-nerh-nerh!”

Bishop Winnington-Ingram, preaching in Hyde Park, was heckled by an older man of the road:

‘What about St Paul then?’ he shouted. ‘He liked a drop of the good stuff, didn’t he?’

‘I don’t know,’ the Bishop replied, ‘but when I get to heaven I’ll ask him.’

‘And what if he’s not there?’ came back the heckler.

‘Then you ask him,’ the Bishop responded.

DEATH/DYING

Source: Sandy Millar, All I Want is You, p.79