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Unjustified criticism . . . don’t you just hate it? And who knows why it starts, where it comes from (well, it’s usually not hard to figure out where it’s coming from or where it started) and why it continues (and the real kicker is that often those folks doing the criticizing are relentless). It can come from close family members and/or close friends and/or coworkers and/or a boss or, well, just about anyone who wants to criticize us for a variety of reasons and motives.
Unfortunately, those folks doing the criticizing never seem to wear the shoes of the one who they are chronically blasting. And, depending on the motive(s) behind the criticism it can get down right vicious. And, it can destroy careers, reputations, relationships, and trickle down into a host of other areas in one’s life as those folks try their best to make our lives unbearable. But then, perhaps, that was part of the reason in the first place.
The reblogged post below titled, “Unjust Criticism,” by “The Daily Way” addresses the issues of unjust criticism using the example of Moses. In his case the unjustified criticism came from his siblings and was motivated by envy and jealousy. Moses’ response was to intercede for them to the Lord and leave it in His hands. That’s a good remind for us if we are encountering a slew of criticism and refuse to be buried under its weight. As the reblogged post below states:
Maybe you are experiencing unjust criticism. Are you quietly doing what the Lord has called you to do, but keep getting ridiculed from those who know you best? Don’t despair or give in.
The Lord knows. He will be your source of strength and determination. Allow Him to take care of criticism and the critics by keeping your eyes focused on Christ.
God knows–and he knows everything. And he knows how the story will end, too. So don’t cave in, and look to the Lord for our help, strength, and determination. And keep a clean slate with him, too (it’s called repentence).
And don’t forget to love those who are criticizing you, no matter how hot the criticism gets, as it is love that covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:18).
Photo credit here
Have you ever worked as diligently as you know how, only to have somebody criticize you for something irrelevant to what you have accomplished? People who are critical often focus on unimportant things. They are motivated by envy and jealousy. Miriam and Aaron were jealous of their brother, Moses. They were envious of his godly anointing and the leadership role he had among God’s chosen people. However, instead of expressing their true feelings, they criticized Moses for marrying a non-Israelite.
Personal criticism, even when justified, is painful. Unjust and irrelevant criticism hurts deeply, especially when it comes from someone you love and trust. The criticism Moses was getting from his siblings was unjustified. Moses had interceded for them to the Lord for their idolatry, immorality, and continual murmuring. Miriam and Aaron knew that Moses was not motivated by personal gain. Numbers 12:3 states, “Now Moses was a very humble man…
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Imagine, if you will, that your life and everything you do every single day and night is being watched 24/7 (as in a “Reality TV” show). Try to imagine what it would be like if you knew people were watching your every move–in the shower or bathroom, in your home or apartment, in your car, at work, with your significant other (if you have one), what you do or don’t do in bed including sleep, what you eat and drink, what you say to yourself (as in “thinking out loud”), what you say to others, what you watch on TV or on DVD or in a movie theatre or any other type of media, where you travel and what you do when you get there, and the list goes on and on and on.
And what if everything you did on the internet was tracked (it can be, by the way) and every call you make on your cell was recorded for others to hear (that is possible, too, with today’s technology). In fact, imagine a life with absolutely no privacy whatsoever and that the folks watching could use that information in any way they so desired to their own benefit and to your own detriment or destruction. How do you think you would fare if your life was turned upside down like that?
George Orwell wrote about such a scenario (sans the internet and cell phone stuff as it didn’t exist back then) in his famous novel, “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” published in 1949 (a summary of the plot can be read at this link). With the technology now available in today’s world (a quick Google search on the internet for “survelliance camera” or “survelliance equipment” is enough to scare the pants off of anybody), personal privacy is, in reality, a thing of the past.
With that in mind, let me ask a question. If we knew our every move, actions, words, and thoughts were recorded and available to others 24/7 would it change the way we live our lives? Maybe? Maybe not? Well, there is Someone who knows our every move, actions, words, and thoughts whether we believe it or not. And that person is God. And God is not mocked (see Galatians 6:7-9). And our adversary keeps very close tabs on us, too, and he knows exactly how to trip us up (and we fall for his tactics all the time because so often we love what he offers us). And just in case you think I’m bluffing, read Ephesians 6:10-18 if you think we are not in a spiritual war, folks. And if we aren’t prepared for it, it can disable us spiritually and get us killed.
The way we treat others and how we live our own lives is rarely hidden from others and never hidden from God. And with today’s technology, it not only can be recorded and spread around the world via the internet but it can also be “instantaneously” broadcast as it is actually happening. And it can and usually is twisted to benefit others, especially those people who are putting it “out there” for anyone to see and hear for monetary gain. Of course, this kind of behavior is rampant during election years with the mud-slinging neck deep with the dirt we get on others. However, we would never want our own dirt put on display for the world to see, right? As a nation, we’ve become “National Enquirer” on steroids. And we do all this raunchy, evil stuff to each other and those we don’t even like or know to benefit ourselves in some way (usually involving money/power/sex).
Here are a few questions to get us thinking about how we live our lives:
- Do we gossip and tear people apart with our words and actions and attitudes?
- Do we pry into the lives of others and judge them accordingly?
- Are we ethical at work or do we just “go with the flow” to keep that paycheck coming in?
- Are we ethical in the way we earn our money? And how about how we spend it?
- If we are Christian and married (as this flies in the face of the rest of the world), are we faithful to our spouse (and that includes the stuff on TV, the internet, movies, strip clubs, swap clubs, prostitutes, porn in any form, our neighbor’s wife or husband, and anyone else we think about having sex with to include oral sex, etc.)?
- If we are Christian and not married (as this also flies in the face of the rest of the world), do we not have sex with others before marriage (including oral sex) and also including the items listed in #5?
- Do we always try to “push the line” to see how far we can go and not just in the area of sex but in all the other ways we use things and people for our benefit (as if God doesn’t know our intentions)?
- Do we demand our own way all the time, always “looking out for #1”?
- Do we judge others we don’t even know and do we show no mercy to others, except perhaps to our fellow church goers if they like to gossip as much as we do?
- As a group (in whatever setting), do we gang up on others we don’t like for whatever reason and shun them (in workplaces and churches and other social settings)?
- Do we try to force our way on others (the political arena comes to mind, but so does work and church and other social settings) without any regard to the hypocrisy and duplicity in our own lives?
- And how do we spend our private time when we think no one is watching (whether at home or in hotel rooms or anyplace else)?
- Do we really even believe in God? And if so, is it a god of our own making while pretending it is the God of the Bible?
Duplicity . . . as in hypocrisy, deceit, fraud, trickery, misleading others, perversion of the truth, deriving benefit at another’s expense, and the intentional concealment of truthful information (source here). Sound familiar, or is that all just “whitewash,” like telling “little white lies” used to be when we were kids decades ago before lying became fashionable and common practice?
Jesus Christ had a lot to say about living lives of hypocrisy and duplicity, and he said it to the Pharisees and teachers of the law who taught the people how to live but didn’t live it themselves. It was the religious folks of his day who made up the rules as they went along and demanded that others follow them while they didn’t always do so themselves. And it was the religious folks who opposed Jesus at every turn, right up to when they finally nailed him to a cross (but he didn’t stay there). And it was to the religious folks that he gave his harshest words in Matthew 23. He called them hypocrites (see vv. 13, 14, 15, 23, 25, 27, 29), blind guides (see vv. 16, 19, 24, 26), snakes (see v. 33), and a brood of vipers (see v. 33). They neglected justice, mercy and faithfulness (see v. 23), and were full of greed and self-indulgence (see v. 25). And too many religious folks in our day are just like them, talking a good talk but not walking it.
It is obvious by the way lots of people live today that most folks don’t believe that there are any consequences for the way we live and how we treat others. We are mostly “looking out for #1” with anyone else taking a distant second place. And, if we can screw over a family member, a friend, a work colleague, or better yet, a complete stranger (especially if we can do it by making them look bad regardless of whether the information spread about them is true or not–mostly not) to get more money in our pockets we don’t think twice about it whether we are Christian or not. And we can even do it in ways that are legal nowadays (just look at Wall Street, for example, or on a more common level–the admissions/retention practices in my own field of work, or overcharging for services rendered, or lying on expense reports, or in a myriad of other ways we make money in businesses here in America). Of course, I’m not implying that every way that we make money in America has ill intentions behind it. Of course not. However, greed has taken over in America in a big, big way in the past few decades and we just don’t think twice about what the cost is to anybody else as long as that money stays in our own pockets and we find ways to get more of it, legal or not (and mostly through deception).
The way we live our lives and how we treat others matters . . . and it matters a great deal to God. We can’t hide anything from him, even if we are good at hiding most of the nasty and devious stuff from others. And for what propose? Just so we can have more money or more power or more prestige or more (as in more, more, more) of what? More of what? Our own greed will destroy us in the end. And does the end even matter to us, or just the “here and now”? The end will be here sooner than we think, folks.
We live in a secular society where “anything goes” if we can get by with it and not get caught. I’m not even sure about the “getting caught” part of it anymore as there is so much corruption at all levels in our society today. And most of it is centered around money (and all it can buy including people) and how we can get our hands on it. And how we get that money doesn’t appear to matter anymore, either. The people who can’t be bought with money are getting to be fewer and fewer. And loyalty is a thing of the past . . . except loyalty to self.
But God sees it all–every last bit of it–and that includes everything we’ve ever said or done or didn’t do or shouldn’t have done or should have done or thought (with or without actions)–right, wrong, and everything in between. A.W. Tozer was right when he said, “The low view of God entertained almost universally among Christians is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us. A whole new philosophy of the Christian life has resulted from this one basic error in our religious thinking” (quote source here), and he said that well over 50 years ago as he died 50 years ago this past May).
Folks, we don’t even have a low opinion of God anymore. We have NO opinion of God anymore, and we’ve made money our god. And that is the biggest deception going in our society today—that money is god in our lives. We serve a god called money, and we hate anything that gets in the way of that (including God). Jesus clearly stated this in Matthew 6:24 when he said: “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
But do we listen???
Our lives lived out 24/7 prove who or what we really believe in. And a glance at our checkbook or credit card statements will give us the answer in pretty quick order.
Are we walking the talk . . .
Or just talking it . . .
The whole world is watching . . . .
YouTube Video: “Gotta Serve Somebody” (Bob Dylan’s song) sung by The Abbadons: