Mucho divine love to you all, precious saints!!! Today our Father has me pondering tough love. Oh Jesus was the most powerful man who ever walked the earth and yet He was also the most gentle and perfect love!!! Walking the Christian faith takes both and discernment from the Holy Spirit how to walk it out in life!!! This we can know as a promise from our Father:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
As I continue to talk about running our road of purpose in life, one of the issues we will always have to deal with is the issue of criticism. Say what???
There are two types:
Constructive criticism is something to be thankful for because it helps us to improve and a wise person welcomes wisdom and takes the correct action to bring about the necessary change(s) (Proverbs 13:10). Hard truths may hurt to hear, but are needed to bring us to our divine senses and stop us from continuing in wrong and foolish ways. This kind of criticism from a friend is well meant and can be trusted (Proverbs 27:6). When our best interest is at their heart, their words are genuine expressions of friendship. If a person truly loves someone, he/she will not fail to tell their friend about a fault or correct them if needed. To not do so would be to hide their love from their friend. However, when correcting someone, the Lord desires that we do so in love and not in hostility. It is never easy, but sometimes we all face times of doing hard things for those we love, whether we are speaking or on the hearing end!!!
Non-valid criticism calls for the extension of grace from us towards the one being critical. Sometimes people are in the wrong. Because of insecurities, we as people tend to always think other people are right and we are the ones wrong. Again, ask God to give you the proper perspective and if He shows you that you are not in the wrong, then rest in that and do as Jesus says “to love your enemies and do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28).
Anger in itself is not sin. God shows anger in several places throughout the Bible. Anger is an emotion that God has built into us that is an indicator that something is wrong that needs to be resolved. Ephesians 4:26 tells us “In your anger, do not sin.” It is important to learn how to handle the powerful emotion of anger correctly as it can be very destructive if it is handled incorrectly. An excellent resource to help with the issue of anger is “The Anger Workbook” by Les Carter, Ph.D and Frank Minirth, M.D. and published by Thomas Nelson. Often people say things out of their lack of understanding, their own inner struggles and as a result of battles with Satan and what they really need is someone to help them understand the truth in the situation, reassure them, sympathize with them, seek to understand them and love them. If we react in an out of control manner or with inappropriate anger back, it can result in an unfavorable outcome – maybe a destroyed relationship!!! YIKES!!!
If we have ever taken criticism as a leader, we know how hard it is to deal with and how Satan can use it to discourage us in our running. Until we have stood in a leader’s shoes, we do not understand all that a leader deals with in stepping out for God. Because of this, let us be merciful to leaders. Let us think seriously about our criticism before we decide to take it to the leader. Leaders do not usually wake up and say “Today, I am going to hurt this or that person and when they do hurt someone, they wish they could undo it!” If we do decide our criticism is something that we need to discuss with the leader, let us take it to the leader and work to resolve it with them in love, rather than slander them to other people because God does not take that lightly. In Numbers 12, it tells us that Miriam, Moses sister, was made leprous and isolated outside the camp because of her criticism towards Moses, God’s chosen leader. Criticism is a serious matter to God. Let us not take it lightly. It is good to ask ourselves, are we perhaps a person who has a critical spirit – one who is continually criticizing and pointing out the failures of others? If so, we can ask God to change our critical heart into a heart of His grace, love and encouragement towards others.
If we are a leader who has received criticism, let us deal with it correctly and not allow Satan to use it to discourage us and keep us from running the road of God’s purpose for us. We can ask God to encourage us and give us wisdom to handle the matter correctly. Let us look for the “nugget” of good (the wisdom) and not a “loophole” for denial. Let us not put gasoline (our anger) on top of the fire (someone else’s anger) as this will only make matters worse. Proverbs 15:1 says “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Let us seek to work through the matter with understanding towards the other person to resolve the problem and provide a solution to keep it from happening again. This is important, dear ones, as there are lots of people who need Father’s people of faith to keep running and those who do appreciate all you do for them, including the Lord! Oh let us stay focused on this point!
A friend of mine told me a story of a friend that called her struggling because she had a weakness of gossip and there was a situation with the daughter of a couple that had gotten into a lot of trouble. It was publicized in the newspaper twice. My friend advised her that even though it was publicized in the newspaper, she should not go about spreading gossip about her friend’s daughter. A few days later, my friend received a phone call from the gal who had shared her gossip struggle with her and she said I am so glad I didn’t give in to my sinful nature to spread the gossip because I just found out that the girl mentioned in the newspaper was not the same girl I know. They just both had the same name. Gossip could have greatly damaged an innocent girl’s reputation. God’s ways are so much better than ours!!! I am so thankful for His truths to guide us in love!!! The power of our Father’s love for us was strong enough to enable Him to face it, have victory over death on a cross and gentle and loving enough to extend us forgiveness of sins, a reconciled relationship with Him and forever eternal life thru our faith in His perfect performance on our behalf!!! This song here speaks of how powerful that is to our hearts!!! Let us hold that sacred and in heart as we seek to love people!!! Father’s blessings to you, kingdom family!!! I’m a gal smiling and happy!!! Sooo proud of ya’s for being strong in love for Jesus!!!