Winston Churchill exemplified integrity and
respect in the face of opposition. During his last year in
office, he attended an official ceremony. Several rows behind
him two gentlemen began whispering. "That's Winston
Churchill." "They say he is getting senile." "They say
he should step aside and leave the running of the nation to more
dynamic and capable men."
When the ceremony was over, Churchill turned to
the men and said, "Gentlemen, they also say he is deaf!"
Criticism. Nobody enjoys being criticized,
even if it's done in a kind, loving way. But it's even more
difficult to accept when the criticism is harsh or unfair. The
fact is, however, that we all find ourselves from time to time in a
position of being unfairly criticized.
Criticism -- even destructive criticism -- may
serve a useful purpose. We need to listen to it and, if
possible, profit by it. We ought to be humble enough to
recognize that some criticisms are justly deserved. Even when
critics are unkind and when they exaggerate our failures, there may
still be some truth in what they say.
So, when faced with criticism, we need to look at
the situation honestly and ask these questions: Is it
true? If so, how can I overcome the condition that caused
it? If not, is there something I can do to eliminate future
criticism of the same type?
It was reported to Abraham Lincoln once that one
of his cabinet members had called him a fool. Having verified
the fact that Mr. Stanton had indeed referred to him in this manner,
Lincoln said, "Mr Stanton is a wise man. If he said I am a
fool, then I had better look into the matter."
It has been said, "We learn much from the
disagreeable things people say, for they make us think, whereas the
good things only make us glad."
For Christians, criticism should be a stepping
stone to spiritual growth! It's an opportunity to learn what
we're doing wrong and what we need to correct. It provides us
with the motivation we need to change and mature.
"If you listen to correction to improve your
life, you will live among the wise. Those who refuse correction hate
themselves, but those who accept correction gain understanding."
(Proverbs 15:31-32, NCV)
Have a great day!
- Alan Smith, author of the popular "Thought For Today," and
minister for the Fayetteville Church of Christ in Fayetteville, NC,
may be contacted at email@example.com