Criticism

15 posts

The Unexpected Blessing of Criticism

Proverbs has some profound things to say about receiving criticism.  Solomon warns against living for the praise of others. Learning to wisely receive criticism is a life skill that will serve you and your children well. This skill offers protection from everything to falling prey to sexual temptations or from making poor business decisions. For example, a little boy who craves praise may well grow into a husband who will be angry and disappointed when he is not constantly praised. He can easily be prone to self-pity. This can lead to a man who will be withdrawn, sullen, or even abusive.  Similarly, a young woman who lives for the praise of others becomes a target for those who would take […]

You were born to fight

You were born to fight. James puts it this way: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” It is time to stop being surprised that you and the people you love are inclined to fight. This has been reality since the Garden. We all have a part of our brother Cain embedded in us. So the question is not why do you fight, but how can you stop fighting. Here is at least one answer: consider others, especially the ones you are fighting with, as more important than yourself. That is always your first thought when you are fighting, right?  Well, not really!  The reason this sounds awkward and uncomfortable […]

Sawdust & Self-righteousness

Jesus was a carpenter. Specks of sawdust were part of his life. Jesus was also the most extraordinary communicator in all of human history! He used words with the skill and grace of the ultimate master woodworker. His masterfully crafted word pictures connected his hearers to everyday life. This is exactly what he does in Luke’s gospel when he uses the common elements of his carpenter’s life to connect to my life and yours. Here is what Jesus says: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when […]

Thoughts on starting school

It is one thing to say that your children are a blessing to you and that you delight in them. It is another for them to actually believe this. How well children perform cannot be the basis of your acceptance. This is a particular challenge for parents and children as the school year begins. School is about performance.  Report cards and grades are the measure of success. There are tests to be taken and teams to tryout for. But evaluating performance is not the measure of a child’s worth. No child can bear the weight of thinking he has to measure up to a standard in order to be appreciated and have worth.  Academic pursuits are not a true measure […]

Words that bring life

The wise man (including the wise child) is motivated by the fear of God and the pursuit of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7; 3:11-18).  This is an important lesson for children to grasp. For example, a little boy who craves praise may well grow into a husband who will be angry and disappointed when he is not constantly praised. He can easily be prone to self-pity. This can lead to a man who will be withdrawn, sullen, or even abusive.  Similarly, a young woman who lives for the praise of others, becomes a target for those who would take advantage of her. Proverbs has some profound things to say about receiving criticism.  Solomon warns against living for the praise of others. Learning to […]

How to find friends you can trust

Failure to discern who is a genuine, true friend and who is not, leads to being manipulated and used. This may result in, among many other things, bitterness and a crippling inability to trust others. The Holy Spirit has provided tools in Scripture to help you recognize genuine friendship. This is an essential life skill for you and your children. The Proverbs offer reliable observations about friendship.  For example look at Proverbs 12:18: “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” These words provide insight about how to distinguish between the wise and the reckless.  The reckless or rash person’s words hurt and bring pain.  They cut deeply.  When someone claims to […]

Sex is designed by God for Marriage

“This is where you must start in teaching your children about sex. Sex is not fundamentally a biological, physiological activity. Sexuality is a necessary aspect of God’s purpose for man to occupy and control the earth for the glory of God. (Genesis 1:26-28) All of the physiological phenomena that happens to the human body while engaging in sexual activity is expressly designed by God to remind husbands and wives that they have been called to unity, intimacy and procreation in their mission to have dominion over the earth. Sexual activity is designed for a man and a woman who are obeying God in marriage in order to bring honor to his name. The idea that sexual pleasure is designed merely […]

Emphasize excellence

The Christian life is so much more than avoiding negative things. It is primarily about engaging in thoughts and activities that bring honor to God. In Philippians 4:8-9, Paul urges Christians to focus on things that are excellent and praiseworthy. Here are two practical examples of doing this: Two young children are fussing and complaining. Negative response: “Why can’t you two just be quiet! Being noisy and fussy is a distraction to everybody in this house. I don’t want to hear any more unpleasantness, and I mean it! Do you understand?!?” Response that encourages excellence: “God’s Word says that we should be thankful for each other. Sarah, Ethan, remember that we talked about things we can be thankful for about […]

I don’t like correction!

I don’t like correction. There I said it. I like to be right. More importantly, I like it even more when you think I am right. By openly admitting these things I have also shown a propensity for stupidity. This is but another reminder of the danger of being wise in my own eyes. If I care most about being right, I care most about myself. This is not wisdom but stupidity. If I am to learn, I must first love discipline and rebuke. When I recoil at the correction and rebuke of those closest to me, I make myself weak. Instead of trying to find a way to challenge a rebuke, God wants me to first learn from that […]

Be defensive first, ask questions later – not the best idea

“That’s a bad idea! How could you think of something that awful?” “That’s a pretty good job. But you know, if you just did this one part a little bit more carefully, it would be really great.” “That stinks!” “That is not what I told you to do.” “Well, maybe next time you’ll do better.”   The five examples of criticism listed above are painful to read and even more painful to hear. Hearing someone’s unkind and unfair criticism does indeed present a trial and a challenge.    From a gospel-centered perspective your first thought when you receive unfair criticism should focus on how you can return good for evil—because this is what God has done for you. God has […]