by: Paul Stagnaro
Today's blog has been inspired by Bill Gaultiere founder of SoulShepherding.
I remember as a child hearing the rhyme "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." I said it when I was young, and as a father taught my boys the rhyme. A common childhood chant meaning hurtful words cannot cause any physical pain and thus will be ignored or disregarded.
The problem is that it is not true. Most of us can't ignore or disregard the hurtful words spoken towards us. And those words do hurt. Not physically, they hurt the core of our emotions and spirit.
As a young boy, I was naive about the phrase and as a father, I failed my boys. I failed my boys because the rhyme didn't help them to understand their hurt feelings caused by words. I should have helped them heal their hurt feelings and talked to them about their thoughts about those feelings.
We all know that words can hurt, we all have done it, and sadly the hurt can last a lifetime. I know adults that have difficulty seeing how wonderfully God made them. They fail to see the great gifts God has given them. They don't rise to the opportunities provided to them because they have invested themselves in the negative and critical words of their parents, siblings, or spouse, and acquaintance.
The words of criticism were planted in their soul like seeds from a weed. They took root, grew swiftly, invading, and creating a new reality of who they were, of not attaining what they could be, and what they could accomplish.
And for the believer, it impacts how they see themselves as God's child. It impacts their faith and trust in God's Word. When I hear a fellow believer tell me that they are not good enough for God I think that thought was birth by words of criticism planted in their life years ago.
As a believer how are you to handle criticism?
First, we need to understand that not all criticism is bad. Proverbs tells us that a friend in need is a friend indeed. Proverbs 27:17 A trusted friend is one of God's greatest blessings. I have a quote from George Washington the first President of the United States. "Be courteous to all, intimate with a few, and let those few be welled tried before you give them your confidence."
Bill Gaultiere recommends that we watch and pray. He writes; "Jesus taught Peter to "watch and pray" Matthew 26:41 it is all about being prepared. "Jesus warned Peter that a trial was coming his way and he needed to prepare himself in prayer ahead of time."
As believers, the challenge we have is not reacting to the criticism. It about your identity. Your identity in Christ. It is about developing a Christ-like response to criticism. Study the life of Christ, discover how he reacted to criticism.
Don't react. Stop, think about it. If you know the criticism is not true don't give it value in your life. If it is true pray about it, read the Word, seek advise from a person you trust. and then change.
Don't be bitter it can be an opportunity to learn. Bitterness will shut out the opportunity from your life.
As a believer, your Goal must be please God not others, not even yourself. Galatians 1:10
You can contact Discover Discipleship at email@example.com or call Pastor Paul at 510-521-1943 Ext. 105