Beyond Criticism

Proverbs 29:1 

He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery. (NLT)

Following the Rules

Few of us enjoy being criticized, told off, corrected or reproved. What is important, however, is the manner in which we react when faced with criticism or reproof. Take the Pharisees, for instance. These were a group of people who wrote the book on criticism. They had so many rules, you would have thought that they would have walked around heads hung in shame, given the impossibility of compliance.  But they didn’t. They walked around heads held high, proud in the fact that they were rule keepers, not rule breakers. And in their pride they criticized everyone who did not reach their high standards of perfection.

Valid Criticism

What the Pharisees considered perfection was a falsehood, a lie. Jesus was an exposer of lies. When He came to the attention of the Pharisees they invested heavily in using their laws and rules to bring Him down. But they failed miserably because their criticism had no validity. And while the Pharisees were experts at dishing out criticism, they were unable to accept being under the spotlight and told that they were wrong.

Freedom

You could argue that it is simpler to live without rules. That is what infuriated the Pharisees about Jesus. He didn’t just break the rules, He lived as if there were no rules. The problem was that they had become blind to reality through their obsession with a legalistic approach for the one thing that could have brought them freedom, and life. God didn’t send Jesus to earth to write a new book of rules, but to show God’s true character to humanity. Jesus came because humanity had it wrong and has still got it wrong. God does not sit up in heaven criticizing us, but loving us. And if we can truly surrender to that Love then we will find freedom from criticism, and freedom from criticizing.

Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?” Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.” (Matthew 15:10-13 NLT)

About David

David: Half Scot, grew up in Guernsey and the UK. Lives in one of the most rural counties of the UK not far from the Welsh border. Father of Nick who encouraged David to start blogging. Married to Marilyn for 40+ years. Four other children in addition to Nick. Eight grandchildren. Former Merchant Navy officer now getting closer and closer to retirement. View all posts by David

5 responses to “Beyond Criticism

    • David

      Thank you Vincent. How are things?

      • Vincent S Artale Jr

        You’re very welcome Brother, diverticulitis surgery in October, praising God for the health I have 😎 how are you doing

      • David

        Pleased that you have a surgery date. I had mine in March 2000 after ten years of suffering symptoms, which became progressively worse.

        Two years after surgery pain and discomfort started to return. Then I was at a two-day Alpha training event at Coventry Cathedral, led by folk from Holy Trinity Brompton. Second day in the afternoon the HTB vicar Sandy Millar called forward twenty or so folk who He said had a word from God that they had received the gift of healing. Then he started to call out people with sickness. When he said there is someone here with a problem with their colon I was astounded and knew it was me.

        I wasn’t going out, but I had no control over my legs – they took me to the front! I seemed to stand at the front speechless for several minutes. Then one of the people who had responded to the first invitation to come to the front came over. He placed his hands on me and prayed for healing. I felt nothing at the time. It was only later in the afternoon when heading home that I realised I was completely free of pain. And I have remained free of pain ever since – 15 years now! God is good. So very good.

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