John's QuestionWhat steps can you take to seek God’s perspective in a current challenging situation?
Top Music Videos
Honest words can be painful, but what do your criticisms amount to? (Job 6:25).
Have you, like me, ever had a person in your life who in many ways is a friend, but is also your toughest critic? If so, do you wonder how to respond properly to this person?
In my case, I know my friend means well, but she often forcefully sends critical comments without seeking my consent to receive her insights. With that in mind, I so appreciate how Paul pursued the consent of his friend Philemon (Philemon 1:14).
When my “frenemy” sent me an unsolicited email a few weeks ago, listing my faults and suggesting that I have only two areas of giftedness, naturally I was upset. Yet, rather than praying and asking God how to handle the insults, I did a Google search. I looked up “bully” and other synonyms that I felt described my overbearing, highly opinionated friend.
It was easy to find words and articles to confirm that my friend was speaking inappropriately to me, but I was still left without a solution. So I called a wise friend. She suggested that instead of turning to the Internet, I turn to God. “Ask the Lord to help you filter the letter,” she said. “Ask Him to help you cling to what is true and expose the lies. Ask God if the enemy is trying to tap into lies you believe about yourself through your friend’s letter.”
Her advice reiterated the proverb that states, “Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket” (Proverbs 25:11). It’s good for us to listen to advice (v.12), but we should ask God to help us discern whether or not the criticism is valid. If our messenger is trustworthy, even if the message brings conviction and points out areas where we need change, it will yield refreshment (v.13).
Make sure you gain permission before bringing criticism to a friend.
What do you think is the difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism? (See Proverbs 15:31.)
When insulted by a friend, consider this passage by Andrew Peterson, “What defense have I but to flee? Not to flee from the enemy, but to the protection of the King” (Behold the Lamb, 2011). How can you be more Christlike in your criticism?
- John's Question - What steps can you take to seek God’s perspective in a current challenging situation?...read more
- Victory - What battles are you facing these days?...read more
- Starting Over - Have you experienced a fresh start in Jesus?...read more
- Genuine Love - How have you experienced the reality of God’s love?...read more
- Straight Up - Is there a current situation in your life where you’ve been less than honest?...read more
- He Saw Something - Have you seen something so true that you would be willing to live or die for it?...read more
- Higher Law, Higher Love - What choice of conscience faces you today?...read more
- Stay or Run Away - How might God want you to display His glory in your life?...read more
- Jealousy and Generosity - To help His followers understand what the kingdom of heaven is like and the dangers of comparison obsession, Jesus told a parable about a landowner who hired workers to tend his vineyard....read more
- On the Fringe - Who sits alone at church that you can befriend?...read more
- Taming Anger - Think back to a time when you lashed out in anger, or when someone lashed out at you....read more
- Full of Joy - How can you tap into God’s joy more fully?...read more
- Mistaken vs. Hard Hearts - How have you experienced a hard heart toward God in your relationship with Him?...read more
- The Narrow Door - How can salvation be a free gift simply received and yet still require our response?...read more
- Last Dance - How can you focus on thoughts that are lovely and admirable today?...read more
- Free to Forgive - How has God’s forgiveness changed your heart?...read more