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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Handling Criticism


"Let not thy peace depend on the tongues of men," said the wise old Christian mystic, Thomas a Kempis; "for whether they judge well or ill, thou art not on that account other than thyself." The desire to stand well with our fellow men is a natural one, and quite harmless up to a point, but when that desire becomes so all-consuming that we cannot be happy apart from the praises of men, it is no longer harmless, it is sinful in itself and injurious in its effects. One of the first things a Christian should get used to is abuse. The sweetest soul ever to live in this world was subjected to an ever-increasing barrage of vile calumny during His walk among men; and if they so used the Master of the house, how can the servants hope to escape? The only way to avoid evil tongues is to withdraw entirely from the society of men; and even then there might be those who would raise a meaningful eyebrow and suggest that perhaps after all we may have a pretty good reason for getting under cover! To do nothing is to get abused for laziness, and to do anything is to get abused for not doing something else."

A. W. Tozer

I have learned over the years to not get to worked up over either the flattery or the scorn of men.  Both, at times, reach beyond the truth in order to make a point.  As Tozer points out, whatever men may say of you does not change who you are.  Those who support you will likely at times overstate your virtues while those who oppose you will likely at times overstate you vices.

I have also come to realize that those who praise you today may well be flaying you tomorrow.  Some who scorned you yesterday will celebrate you today.  And then there are some who will bounce back and forth between the two.

My goal has become 1.  To exercise moderation in my consideration of the opinions others voice concerning me.  2.  Strive to live so as to be at peace with God at the conclusion of every day no matter what men may be saying.

In the end what men think of me or say about me will not matter.  If it doesn't matter in the end it should not matter too much today!
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