rev-dr-walter-t-richardson_web.jpgAnd David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. — 1 Samuel 30:6 KJV.  In Miami-Dade County, the mayor was ousted from office after being criticized for his decisions in running his office.  Miami Heat player LeBron James was vehemently criticized for his performance during his team’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA finals.

And the jurors in the recent Casey Anthony trial are being severely criticized for the verdicts of acquittal of one who was publicly perceived as a murderer. Criticism is everywhere and seems to be epidemic.

Criticism is both public and private. No one likes to receive it but it will come anyway.  No one looks for it but it is easily found. Criticism! Regardless of how Christ-like you live your life or try to conduct yourself in front of others, there will always be those around you who will find something to criticize. David found he could place very little confidence in his companions and he was conscious that the misfortune in their lives had not happened through his doing, neglect or ignorance. Yet, he was the object of criticism. Those who should have applauded him and appreciated him attacked him. Those who should have showered him with compliments shoved him with complaints.

The famous Methodist church leader John Wesley was deeply disturbed by people who seemed to enjoy criticizing others, especially those who were in the Lord's work. Once, while he was preaching, he noticed a lady in the congregation who was well known for her critical attitude. All through the service, she sat and stared at his new tie. When the church service was ended, she came up to him and said, very sharply, "Mr. Wesley, the strings on your bow tie are much too long. It's an offense to me." He asked if any of the ladies present happened to have a pair of scissors in their purses. When they were handed to him, he gave them to the critic and asked her to trim the streamers to her liking.

After she clipped them off near the collar, he said, "Are you sure they're right now?"

"Yes", she said, "that's much better."

"Then let me have those shears a moment," said Wesley. "I'm sure you wouldn't mind if I also give you a bit of correction. I don't mean to be cruel but I must tell you, madam, that your tongue is an offense to me.  It's too long. Please stick it out. I'd like to trim some off."

Of course, Wesley didn't follow through on his threat but he sure made his point.

Yes, very often, our friends and family are so caught up in themselves, how they feel, what is happening to them and how they are being affected that they cannot see objectively. So they verbally assault the closest ones to them.

The best way to deal with this is to do what David did: Don't always respond to your critic. Encourage yourself. As bad as the times are, as desolate as your surroundings are, as insulting as your enemies are and as critical as your friends are, remember: God gives you the promise of restoration and recovery. Just make sure you are doing the right thing.

No matter how you feel, speak a word to yourself and you will begin to be healed. Speak over yourself, keep your chin up, hang in there and encourage yourself… in the Lord.