Topic: The Winning Mindset and Criticism.
Text: Roman 14:1-23
Key verse: Some of the Lord’s followers think one day is more important than another. Others think all days are the same. But each of you should make up your mind. – Romans 14:5 (CEV)
The value of the diligent study of the scriptures cannot be overemphasized because everything you need to know about the issues of life is adequately documented for your benefit.
Growing up as a believer l struggled so much with criticism. I viewed criticism through the coloured lenses of rejection. As a child, l felt rejected when my Father took another wife to give him male children. Not that l would not have loved to have siblings, but the process of getting another wife was full of lies, deception, and a betrayal of trust. As a child, l desired to reconcile my parents so we could have a happy family again, then l was told in my face, that a girl child is not enough.
Every time people criticized me, l always felt threatened. In today’s text, we shall see some of the benefits of having a mindset that welcomes and manages criticism well for the good of the individual and the kingdom.
Criticism is defined as the expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes.
Criticism has been known to be constructive or destructive depending on how it is expressed and the outcome it has on the individual. How you criticize a person or something reveals your motive, do you seek to uplift, correct, or condemn?
Welcome, all the Lord’s followers, even those whose faith is weak. Don’t criticize them for having beliefs that are different from yours. – Romans 14:1
As Christ-followers, we must make room for others whose beliefs are different from ours. The difference may just be a function of knowledge or its lack.
In a school, classes are arranged accordingly and each student is served a curriculum relevant to their age. When they gain mastery over that curricula, then they are upgraded to something more complex or mentally tasking.
Wouldn’t it be strange if a student in high school goes to criticize a child in preschool for not knowing the periodic table in chemistry?
Is the perceived fault or mistake something they can adjust? Will your approach help them see love and compassion or will the outcome make them ashamed and condemned? This is how the Lord would do it in John 21:1-17, take note of the last words.
A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep. – John 21:17
Even though Jesus did not approve of their return to fishing, he met them where they were at that time, helped them achieve their goal to have food, but he pointed Peter back to the mission in a loving well that still convicted him.
Such wisdom from Jesus is amazing, it is full of grace and very different from what a control leadership mindset would do. Yet it achieved the goal of getting him back into alignment with the will of God, without attacking his ego as the leader of the disciples.
This is a call to sensitivity in how we deal with one another in the kingdom, some are lambs, while others have become sheep, though you disapprove of something, be gracious in the way you express it, knowing that your goal is not to judge but to love and feed them.
Now, the mind plays a key role in how we process criticism, where they are wounds of the heart that are not yet healed, even when criticism is graciously delivered, the mind can still interpret it as shame, rejection, inferiority, or even hatred.
You need criticism to grow, when people share with you their perspectives, you can fine-tune what you are doing and you can deliver an excellent result.
None of us can see our backside, l mean, the effect of your words or actions on others, you must receive feedback from them to know it. Even Jesus asked for feedback.
When Jesus and his disciples were near the town of Caesarea Philippi, he asked them, “What do people say about the Son of Man?” – Matthew 16:13
May the Lord reveal these truths to us, and grant us understanding in Jesus’ name. Amen.