20 Helpful Thoughts On Criticism

“Criticism is something you can avoid easily—by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing.” —Aristotle 

“The Lord uses critics to show us our own hearts, even if what they say is not fully true, informed, or even fair. There is almost always a germ of truth in what our critics (in their own pain and disappointment) shout at us. The wise leader will humble himself and look for the truth embedded in every oppositional interaction.” —Dick Brogden [see 2 Samuel 16:5-12] 

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” —Ken Blanchard 

“Criticism can be received as a gift from God. It is an opportunity to pray, search Scripture, evaluate your own heart, and offer grace to others. The right response to criticism should not be retaliation or pride (which just perpetuates hurt), but rather humility.” —Jeremy Carr

“There is a growing trend to attack, criticize, and resent anyone who has talent or achievements that sets them apart from others. This tendency extends to those who resent the efforts of leaders who challenge the status quo. Opponents of change initiatives often attempt to marginalize leaders by attacking their character and questioning their motives. If the messenger is flawed, then the message and vision they offer cannot be trusted. As disappointing as it is, these challenges come with the territory of leadership.” —Dr. J. Lee Whittington

“If I were to attempt to answer all the criticisms and complaints I receive, I would have no time for any other business. From day to day I do the best I can and will continue to do so till the end. If in the end I come out all right, then the complaints and criticisms and what is said against me will make no difference. But, if the end brings me out wrong, then ten angels coming down from heaven to swear I was right would still make no difference.” —Abraham Lincoln

“If a ministry is God-anointed, it doesn’t matter who criticizes it. If it’s not anointed, it doesn’t matter who praises it.” —Rick Warren 

“Your critics have information that your friends are withholding.” —John Maxwell 

“God never gives us discernment so that we may criticize, but that we may intercede.” —Oswald Chambers 

“No leader is exempt from criticism and his humility will nowhere be seen more clearly than in the manner in which he accepts and reacts to it.” —J. Oswald Sanders 

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body: It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” —Winston Churchill 

“Every man needs a blind eye and a deaf ear, so when people applaud, you’ll only hear half of it, and when people salute, you’ll only see part of it. Believe only half the praise and half the criticism.” —C.H. Spurgeon 

“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.” —Dale Carnegie

“A mark of a godly leader is one so focused on God’s plan that he pays no attention to his critics or enemies.” —Craig T. Owens

“Never be afraid of honest criticism. If the critic is wrong, you can help him; and if you’re wrong, he can help you. Either way, somebody’s helped.” —A.W. Tozer 

“It’s so much easier to teach correct principles than it is to know and love a person. It’s so much easier to give brilliant advice than to empathize and be open. It’s so much easier to live independently than to live interdependently. It’s so much easier to be a judge than to be a light. It’s so much easier to be a critic than to be a model.” —Stephen Covey

“When is it inappropriate to praise a critical person? One: When you are being criticized for outright sin, and the criticism is accurate. If what is said is true, the tension you feel will be relieved only one way: confession. Two: when you are falsely accused of sin. Sin is a serious charge, obviously more serious than those ‘against you’ realize or they would have done their homework.” —Blaine Allen

Don’t let an arrow of criticism pierce your heart unless it first passes through the filter of Scripture.” —Mark Batterson

“There is no better antidote for unjust criticism than a clear conscience before God.” —James Hernando

“It is not the critic who counts; nor the many who point out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly… who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never known neither victory nor defeat.” —Teddy Roosevelt 

Battleground!

“Men think of the world, not as a battleground but as a playground. We are not here to fight, we are here to frolic. We are not in a foreign land, we are at home. We are not getting ready to live, we are already living, and the best we can do is to rid ourselves of our inhibitions and our frustrations and live this life to the full. …

That this world is a playground instead of a battleground has now been accepted in practice by the vast majority of evangelical Christians. They might hedge around the question if they were asked bluntly to declare their position, but their conduct gives them away. They are facing both ways, enjoying Christ and the world too, and gleefully telling everyone that accepting Jesus does not require them to give up their fun, and that Christianity is just the jolliest thing imaginable.” —A.W. Tozer, in Culture

(To read other quotes from this A.W. Tozer book, click here or here.)

Yea Or Nay

“One of the greatest curses of the modern evangelical movement, in my opinion, is that we are somehow becoming ‘popular.’ Just as soon as you become popular, something goes out of your life, or more accurately, something has gone out of your life before you get popular.

“Historically, the Christian had to be emphatic. He had two words: yea or nay. When God was talking to him, he said yes, and when the devil was talking to him he said no. When God said, ‘Do this,’ he said, ‘Yes, Lord.’ When sinners tempted him to stray, he said an emphatic no.

“The trouble with us now is that we are double-minded. That is why we are weak. Scripture speaks of the double-minded man. He is ‘unstable in all his ways’ (James 1:8). Elijah illustrated this when he said, ‘How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him’ (1 Kings 18:21). We need to be on one side or the other. Wholly committed to our high calling in Christ Jesus.” —A.W. Tozer, in The Wisdom Of God

Avoiding Worthless Pursuits

“Human society is built on the errors of fools. This sounds brutal, but in the context of the Scriptures it is very kind. I say this because a fool acts without regard to future consequences—as though there were not another world besides this one and he was not intending to die. The strange thing is, he lives this way only in his moral life. Intellectually, he knows he’s not going to be here always, and he makes sure his insurance is in place and writes a will and arranges for his family after he is gone. However, morally he lives as if he were going to be here forever, as if there were no death and no future life. That is what a fool is, and again, a philosophy upon which our whole society is built. …

“Look at the many who are seeking direction for their lives. The trouble is, a great deal of this seeking is simply a desire to have a guide that will help him get what he wants, get all the fun he can out of life and not have to pay the consequences. Many counselors today are doing that very thing. They meet with young people, instructing them in a manner that will enable them to have their own way, miss the Cross, miss the dying to self, miss repentance, and ultimately miss the will of God. But the wisdom of God imparts discernment that will save you from the wrong choice and the false counselor. Divine wisdom can also save us from worthless pursuits—those that are not God’s will for us.” —A.W. Tozer, in The Wisdom Of God

You can read my review of The Wisdom Of God here, and check out some other quotes from this powerful book here.

9 More Prayers From A.W. Tozer In “The Wisdom Of God”

In each chapter of The Wisdom Of God, A.W. Tozer prayers for us that we would see Wisdom as a Person to be known. Here are a few more of those prayers. 

“Let me not stay my heart till I have discovered Thee in all Thy fullness.” 

“Manifest Thy grace and wisdom in my life today as a witness to those around me.” 

“O Lord God, Thy wisdom has been poured into my heart, creating such a longing for Thee that nothing in this world can satisfy.” 

“Heavenly Father, open my eyes to recognize Thy hand in my life. … May I be aware of my surroundings in light of what Thou art doing.” 

“Let me penetrate the cloud of unknowing and see Thy face and allow it to transform every aspect of my being.” 

“I praise Thee for Thy faithfulness in pursuing me and going to the ultimate end to rescue me from myself.” 

“My heart, O God, needs Thy most sacred protection. Keep me from the infiltration of sin into my life so that I may glorify Thee in everything I do.” 

“I praise Thee, O God, for the restlessness of my spirit has driven me forward to discover my rest completely in Thee.” 

“Dear heavenly Father, may I sent before me only that which will glorify Thee in all the beauty of Thy purity and holiness. I pray Thy wisdom will guide me throughout my life in making the choices that will bless me and honor Thee.” 

You can check out some of the other prayers from The Wisdom Of God that I shared here. You can also read my review of this collection of sermons by clicking here.

9 More Quotes From “The Wisdom Of God”

The Wisdom Of God is a collection of never-before-published sermons from A.W. Tozer, in which he makes the case that true Wisdom is a Person to be known not a quality to be gained. 

“Wisdom and power cannot be separated from the Cross. If we do not obey, we blind ourselves, and we become dependent upon our own intellect, which will be in no way sufficient to teach others.” 

“Today, Christians need to learn how to worship, and instead of having all this religious claptrap and modern entertainment to hold people together, have the fire of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit, which, by the way, will be enough.” 

“The one thing God has to offer us and the only thing we absolutely need is His wisdom. Flowing from that wisdom is the solution to all the problems that we could ever face. To know the wisdom of God in its fullness is to experience life as God intended it to be.” 

“Our relationship with God must be based upon God’s ways and not our ways.” 

“To fear God, out of which flows wisdom, is to submit myself to God unconditionally and without any personal agenda. When I come to God as He invites me to come, I will have what God intends for me to have.” 

“This effusion of superior wisdom is a gift imparted by God in addition to the gift of wisdom that He gives the birds so they know to fly south and that which He gives man to invent a spaceship or an electric light. This effusion of superior wisdom is something you either have or you don’t. It does not come gradually to anyone. So a man is either born or he is not. He is either born-again or he has not been born again; he cannot come into that gradually. The doctrine of gradualness is from the devil to keep the church of Christ from going forward.” 

“For wisdom dwells with God and He pours her out upon all His works in the degree they are able to absorb it, and the wisest man is the one who turns to the Lord in repentance and faith.” 

“Christ is that ancient, most excellent wisdom incarnated in our nature and making atonement for all our moral infamy. Any emphasis that makes sin less infamous than that is not biblical. Any interpretation of grace and mercy that allows sin to appear even reasonably excusable in the eyes of God is not a proper interpretation. Any doctrine, any view of sin that allows it to be excused in anyway is not biblical. It is not God’s way of looking at it, for God looks at sin as alienation. … God sent His only Son to make atonement for our infamy and saves those that turn to the wisdom of the just through repentance.” 

“We Christians are a strange crowd. We make a more of the invisible than the visible. We talk constantly to Someone we cannot see. We act as if thing were real that people do not believe are real and waive aside things that some people attach great value to. We sing about a Man who was rejected and crucified, and we say, ‘We find the yoke easy.’” 

You can read my review of The Wisdom Of God by clicking here. And be sure to check out some other quotes from this book here. 

10 Prayers From A.W. Tozer In “The Wisdom Of God”

A.W. Tozer’s book The Wisdom Of God is a call to see Wisdom as a Person, not as a quality. As such, Tozer opens each chapter with a short prayer that we would bolster our relationship with Wisdom. Here are a few phrases from those prayers. 

“Let me not succumb to the limitations of my own reasoning and knowledge but leap beyond that and stepped into the reality of Thy Holy presence. Amen.” 

“Pour into my soul that which will enable me to see Thee as Thou wouldst have me to see Thee.” 

“O Wisdom, the incarnate Christ, fill my heart with desires that please Thee and show to the world around me Thy amazing grace.” 

“O God, Thou Eternal Wisdom, may I embrace that which You have created me for, and may out of my life flow the thanks and praise You so desire. Let me live my life by the wisdom of Thy Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.” 

“May Thy wisdom flow into me and out to the world around me, creating in me a vessel for Thy glory.” 

“O Holy Spirit, I praise Thee through the divine wisdom that Thou hast poured into my life, enabling me to understand who I am and who Thou art and how we come together.” 

“Let me not stay my heart till I have discovered Thee in all Thy fullness.” 

“Manifest Thy grace and wisdom in my life today as a witness to those around me.” 

“O Lord God, Thy wisdom has been poured into my heart, creating such a longing for Thee that nothing in this world can satisfy.” 

“Heavenly Father, open my eyes to recognize Thy hand in my life. … May I be aware of my surroundings in light of what Thou art doing.” 

You can check out my full book review of The Wisdom Of God by clicking here. And be sure to read some of the quotes I shared from this book by clicking here.

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