4 powerful things criticism tells you about you.

Everyone is a critic. Don’t believe me? Go on-line to Facebook or twitter during an awards show. Don’t believe me? Ask someone how they feel about a local restaurant, if they like your new haircut, and where you should go on vacation.

We all love to share our opinion. We love it when people ask what we think. Where we tend to have a hard time is when people share their opinion with us. Especially when that opinion is different than ours or when it is aimed at us specifically.

Everyone is a critic but no one likes to be criticized.

One of the best things we can do when others criticize you is to take a look at yourself and ask what does this criticism tell me about me?Here are some of the things that I have found in my life criticism tells me about me.

1. It shows me the things in my life that I hold onto more tightly than I do Christ. – The things that matter to me more than anything else hurt far more when they are poked at by others.
2. It reminds me that I need to care what others think about me but not how often they think about me. We need to care about others but not to the point that our identity and security is informed by what they think about me.
3. It helps me find a joy that is real. It frees me from the need to be loved by others. Jesus said in Luke:

Luke 6:26 26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

4. Criticism allows me to a small extent identify with Christ. He was rejected by God and man for us. He was separated from his father so we never have to be. The problem with most of us is we exchange beauty and honor of partaking even in a small portion of the suffering Christ experienced on our behalf because we value comfort and the opinions of man.

1 Peter 4:12-14

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

 

The Importance of Being Foolish

In The Importance of Being Foolish Brennan Manning does an amazing job of painting a picture of what life would look like if we truly had the mind of Christ. Manning does an impeckable job of exposing the things in our lives that keep our focus and thoughts on things other than that which consumes the mind of Christ.

Manning goes after our motives our affections and our desires. It is a fantastic read. I have been a big Manning fan ever since I first picked up a copy of The Ragamuffin Gospel and Abba’s Child when I was in College. I have since read most of his books if you have never read anything by Manning I encourage you to do so his candor and love for the gospel are evident in all his books.

Here are a few quotes that spoke to me from The Importance of Being Foolish.

If the radical demands of the Christian life are never proposed, if we settle instead for the tepid observance of a lukewarm set of precepts, how easily we become pharisaical and self-righteous. We try to save ourselves by her own works we never experience the mystery of redemption or loving dependence on God. (page 26)
If we wink at the radical demands of the new testament in our teaching and ignore the embarrassing implications of the precept of universal love, we make Christianity too easy and take away its meaning. We become as guilty as the Pharisees, ignoring the weightier matters of the difficult laws of charity, mercy, and faith while observing the positive laws of the church that are meant only as the boundaries of the Christian commitment. (page 27)

To grasp the truth of the gospel is the fall on our faces in both sorrowing gratitude. To live as Jesus lived is to move off of the floor and into the world. (page 37)

So often our self-motivated and self-moved rather than moved and motivated by the Spirit. When are sense of self is derived from our base desires, we act in ways intended to win approval, avoided criticism, or escape rejection. Deatrich Bonhoeffer wrote: “satan’s desire is to turn me in on myself to the extent that I become enslaved and become a destructive force in community. The thrust from Jesus Christ is the opposite to enhance my freedom so that I can become a creative force of love.  It is the spirit of self-centeredness and selfishness versus the spirit of openness and self-sacrifice for the good of others.”

The cure for our selfishness is to develop discerning hearts. (page 132)
A remarkable thing happens when we embrace our unity with all of God’s creation: everything we have given up is given back. Are were is considering security, pleasure, and power following in the recognition that all is well in the kingdom of God. The teaching of Jesus, “enough, then, good morning about tomorrow. Let tomorrow take care of itself” Matthew 6:34, it is known your moral maxim but a personal reality at the lived level of daily expense. In this context, the author Marry Bodo rights of Francis:

“and he was not worried or anxious about yesterday, today or tomorrow because Christ is, and all things are in him and he is in the father. Francis no longer worried, not because he was a naïve optimist, but because he become in prayer and penance a realist who saw the unimportance of Everything but God, and God and with him and through him, the importance of everything. God was everywhere and his presence charge creation with the power and the glory that made everything shine with goodness and beauty in Francis’s eyes. God’s touch on everything inspired everything that was. (page 142)

The gospel points to only one source of redemption: the Cross of Jesus Christ (pg. 152)

 

Whatever is emphasized in the New Testament should be emphasized in the church today. Whatever is peripheral should not be made central. Jesus Christ in the mystery of his death and resurrection is the center of the Bew Testament from Matthew’s genealogy to Revelation’s “Maranatha” (pg. 157)

 

” Words only get in the away when one tries to express Francis’s love for his crucified Lord” Thomas of Celano (pg 158)

 

” As Christians it is good for us not to boast of the resurrection triumph without accepting the tremendous reality of Christ crucifixion and death in us” Carlo Carretto

(pg. 159)

 

The cross confronts us with the cost discipleship reminds us that there is no cheap Pentecost and carries within it living power to enable us to endure the inevitable humiliations rejections sacrifices and willingness that the journey to the higher Christian consciousness imposes. (pg. 170)

 

” It is not how much we do but how much love we put into the doing. It is not how much we give, but how much love we put into the giving.” Mother Teresa (page 168)

 

” Once you come to know the love of Jesus Christ, nothing else in the world will seem beautiful or desirable.”  (page 173)

 

Today Christianity is largely inoffensive this kind of religion will never transform anything. Jesus Christ the master Revolutionary offended religious and political order of Palestine. Christians too are bound to offend, and if we do not it is a bad sign we cannot be very revolutionary. (pg. 177)

 

The journey to transparency requires that we humbly knowledge, for God, but we are inordinately preoccupied with security, pleasure, and power. It requires genuine compassion for others when we see them acting out their addictions and emotionally backed demands; it is our inner solidarity in darkness that produces self-righteousness and irritability and makes compassion possible. The journey to transparency begins with an honest confrontation with the truth, which is not something we acquire, but someone. (pg. 79)

 

Remarkable thing happens when we embrace our unity with all of God’s creation: everything we have given up is given back. Our worries concerning security, pleasure, and power fall away in the recognition that all is well in the kingdom of God. (pg. 142)

Are you Insecure?

Read this in a book I am reading called “The Importance of Being Foolish” by Brennan Manning. Such a powerful reminder of our need for constant dependance.

Insecurity not only paralyzes our relationship with the living God but has a devastating effect on interpersonal relationships. It is the starting point of all social estrangement. It breaks down openness, which is the bridge to the existential world of the other.It undermines real communication and causes a kind of rupture in the evolution of authentic personality. Ken Keys Jr. Writes:

The security center is such a lonely level of consciousness. When you consciousness is preoccupied with striving toward what you feel to be your security needs, you are more isolated from people than at any other level. And your energy will be at its lowest. When you are preoccupied with security, you are trapped in conflicting conditions in your relationships with others. You create “others” as objects to help you become more secure – or as objects to fight because they threaten your security. On the security level you cannot love others since this level creates great distances between you and other people.

The insecure Christian finds it exceedingly difficult to listen to the opinions of others. He is so uncertain about his own identity that he has to assert himself all the time, gripped as he is by the fear that in listening to others or surrendering an opinion he may lose a part of his own shaky identity.

So powerful. Our hope and our identity has got to be firmly found in Him. If our peace, if our joy, if our foundation is anything other than Christ we will be shaken. The deeper our trust in Him the more He will be exulted and glorified in our triumphs and in our tragedies.

Be secure you have been bought with a price walk in the Grace by which you have been saved. Enabling you to extend love and grace in every interaction because of the grace and love afforded to you.

 

Guest Post: Avoiding the cone of parenting shame.

I had the privilege of writing a guest post for Chris Sprad over at Epicparent.tv. Sprad is a great guy love his heart and I love his raw honest take on parenting. His site is a breath of fresh parenting air. I love it. If you are a parent or a pastor you need to check out his site. Love his stuff on talking to your kids about sex. Love his humor and honesty.

I wrote an article for him talking about how we as parents need to make sure that we don’t give our kids to much freedom when they are young. How we we can’t try to be our children’s friends when they are young they need the security of clarity they don’t need a buddy.

Anyway check out my post and Chris’s site.