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Living With Criticism

Living with criticism

Standing in any personal or business relationship inevitably means that you will, at some point, be criticized. Fairly or unfairly – words will come your way which will tell you are not shaping up, good enough, clever enough , thin enough, productive enough, careful enough, disciplined enough ….

Lacking understanding and wisdom, you can easily replay and nurture these words in your mind, until it forms a negative pattern, affecting your perception of yourself, your potential and future. Believing false accusations makes you whither away, it dries up relationships and eventually kills many beautiful opportunities in your life.

Handling criticism is an art few people have mastered:  To accept that someone sees more potential in me than I am seeing myself and allowing them to address hindrances to that potential – is something that requires maturity and humility and a willingness to grow. I’m not against criticism, especially when given from a heart of love and with the purpose of aligning the other person to the principles and purposes of God. What I am against, is taking any and every negative opinion of another person about me, and replaying it in my mind as if it were true.

The Bible clearly describes the devil as the “accuser”.

Mat 4:9 “ All of these I will give to you” the accuser said, ”if only you will kneel down before me and worship me”. In this chapter the enemy, Satan, is referred to as “the accuser” 5 times! (verses 1, 5, 8 ,   9, 11)

John 13:2 “Before their evening meal had begun, the accuser had already planted betrayal into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon”

Please realize that we have an enemy who is battling for our souls – he will use any casual remark about you, which might even have been said in a humorous way, to destroy you. We all have methods of dealing with accusations. Some of us deny anything negative about ourselves, some of us attack the other person in our mind – shredding them to pieces and concluding that since they have so many mistakes, surely what they said about me can not be correct, some of us try to ignore the accusation only to find that it jumps right back into our minds whenever a similar situation presents itself.

God, who is a loving Father, has given us tools to use for these situations. In 1 Peter 5:8,9 we learn to “Be well balanced and always alert, because your enemy, the devil, roams about incessantly, like a roaring lion looking for its prey to devour. Take a decisive stand against him and resist his every attack with strong vigorous faith”

This verse is also translated as “be sober…” understand therefore that not all accusations are true, not everything you hear from others or even in your own mind is worth thinking about, as it might simply be an attack on your faith, your joy or your hope. Identify therefore if what has been said about you has any truth in it, if it doesn’t, reject it, if it does, think about how you can align yourself to better represent Christ in this situation.

Eph 4:27 “Don’t give the slanderous accuser, the Devil, an opportunity to manipulate you”

Eph 6:11 “Put on God’s complete set of armor provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser!”

We need to understand that following Christ implicates a fight against Satan. He is the Father of lies, he kills, steals and destroys (Jn 10:10) and the power he has over you is the power you give him in your mind. Every lie you believe is an arrow in his quiver with which he will torment you for days. His only weapon is to present you with false accusations, which you then have the choice to believe or not.

This is not a positive thinking exercise. This has to do with the reality of living life bombarded by the lies of Satan and learning how to fight against and overcome it. Paul taught in 2 Cor 10:4-5  “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,  casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, …”

In John 8:31,32 Jesus stated: “When you continue to embrace all that I teach, you prove that you are my true followers. For if you embrace the truth, it will release more freedom into your lives. The Passion Translation

How do we embrace the truth?  Firstly by  accepting Jesus Christ as our Saviour.  Jesus explained, “I am the Way, I am the Truth, and I am the Life. No one comes next to the Father except through union with me. To know me is to know my Father too. – John 14:6 The Passion Translation

May you grow in your knowledge and experience of God, and may you resist the accusing lies of Satan by proclaiming and believing the truth that God loves you and has a beautiful plan for your life.

 

 

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