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 

10 More Quotes From “When A Nation Forgets God”

Erwin Lutzer shares valuable history lessons in his book When A Nation Forgets God. In this book, he reveals some scary parallels between Nazi Germany and the current trends in the United States. To help bolster his case, Dr. Lutzer shares many historical quotes. Here are a few of them.

“The gas chambers of Auschwitz were the ultimate consequence of the theory that man is nothing but the product of heredity and environment—or as the Nazis like to say, ‘Of blood and soil.’ I’m absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some ministry or other of Berlin, but rather at the desks and in the lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers.” —Victor Frankl, psychologist and Holocaust survivor

“It would be misleading to give the impression that the persecution of Protestants and Catholics by the Nazi state tore the German people asunder or even greatly aroused the vast majority of them. It did not. A people who had so lightly given up their political and cultural and economic freedoms were not, except for a relatively few, going to die or even risk imprisonment to preserve freedom of worship.” —William Shirer, in The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich

“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” —Benjamin Franklin

“We all declare for liberty; but in using the same words we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name—liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties called by two different and incompatible names—liberty and tyranny.” —Abraham Lincoln

“This generation is not accidental; each step logically follows from what has preceded: the loss of the Bible leads to the loss of God, for in the Bible God is most clearly revealed; the loss of God leaves man at the naked mercy of his fellows, where might makes right.” —John Warwick Montgomery

“How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think!” —Adolf Hitler

“Create a critical mass of people who cannot discern meaning and truth from nonsense, and you will have a society ready to fall for the first charismatic leader to come along.” —Richard Terrell

“The desire to believe something is much more persuasive than rational argument.” —Winston Churchill

“The magnitude of a lie always contains a certain factor of credibility, since the great masses of the people in the very bottom of their hearts tend to be corrupted rather than consciously and purposely evil, and that, therefore, in view of the primitive simplicity of their minds, they more easily fall a victim to a big lie than to a little one, since they themselves lie in little things, but would be ashamed of lies that were too big.” —Adolf Hitler, in Mein Kampf

“There is no problem in the wider culture that you cannot see in spades in the Christian Church. The rot is in us, and not simply out there. And Christians are making a great mistake by turning everything into culture wars. It’s a much deeper crisis.” —Os Guinness

You can read my review of When A Nation Forgets God by clicking here. And I also shared some quotes from Dr. Lutzer, which are posted here.

Book Reviews From 2016

9 Quotes On Socialism From “Churchill’s Trial”

Churchill's TrialWinston Churchill waged a lifelong battle against Socialism creeping into a democratic government. He felt it would ultimately undermine the freedoms of individual citizens. In Churchill’s Trial by Larry Arnn, significant space was given to this topic. Here are a few of the most noteworthy quotes on the evils of socialism.

“Human relations are not a contest in which the advantage of some requires the disadvantage of others. That means in turn that government need not have the authority to allocate resources, at least not comprehensively. A government with such power would be in one sense at war with any citizens who have more than others, effectively with all citizens but the few poorest.” —Larry Arnn

“I declare to you, from the bottom of my heart, that no Socialist system can be established without a political police. Many of those who are advocating Socialism or voting Socialist today will be horrified at this idea. That is because they are short-sighted, that is because they do not see where their theories are leading them. No Socialist Government conducting the entire life and industry of the country could afford to allow free, sharp, or violently-worded expressions of public discontent. They would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo, no doubt very humanely directed in the first instance.” —Winston Churchill

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” —Winston Churchill

“Churchill’s differences with socialism proceed from this fundamental difference about nature. He thought that the equality for which socialism aimed was unnatural. He thought that it could not be achieved except by suppressing nature, including human nature, which would require the suppression of humans. He thought that because of this fundamental difference, socialism would result in impoverishment in economics, corruption in personal character, and despotism in politics. He thought that by nationalizing these areas of private life in which most human beings do their most urgent and fulfilling tasks, socialism would truncate the lives of ordinary people. For that reason he regarded socialism as dehumanizing.” —Larry Arnn

“A state that attempts to equalize things that are not inherently equal will be at war with human excellence. Some people are in fact wiser, braver, more generous, more skillful, more beautiful, stronger, and more active than others. This does not make them different in their rights, if those rights are defined as the right to employ their ability and gain or lose by their efforts. Both the equality of rights and the differences of human makeup are natural phenomena, and they must be accorded their sway. The attempt to equalize unequal things would, Churchill argued, produce resistance, which in turn would call forth from socialism more vigorous laws. This cycle will continue until all the rights of the people were gone.” —Larry Arnn

“Socialism knows that it can only operate through an agency of bureaucracy under the direction of an autocratic sect.” —Winston Churchill

“If you make 10,000 regulations you destroy all respect for the law.” —Winston Churchill 

“Property [means] every thing to which a man may attach a value and have a right; and which leaves to everyone else the like advantage.” —James Madison (emphasis in original)

“If evil systems corrupt good men, it is no less true that base men will dishonor any system, and while no bond of duty more exacting than that of material recompense regulates the relations of man and man, while no motion more lofty and that of self-interest animates the exertions of every class, and no hope beyond the limits of this fleeting world lights the struggle of humanity, the most admirable systems will merely succeed in transferring, under different forms and pretexts, the burden of toil, misery, and injustice from one set of human shoulders to another.” —Winston Churchill 

You can read my review of Churchill’s Trial by clicking here.

My first set of quotes from this book can be found by clicking here.

12 Quotes From “Churchill’s Trial”

Churchill's TrialIn Churchill’s Trial, Larry Arnn has given us a fascinating look at Winston Churchill’s battle to keep freedom alive, both in the moment of crisis and after the crisis has passed. You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are a few of the quotes I highlighted as I read.

“Mankind has never been in this position before. Without having improved appreciably in virtue or enjoying wiser guidance, it has got into its hands for the first time the tools by which it can unfailingly accomplish its own extermination. That is the point in human destinies to which all the glories and toils of men have at last lead them. They would do well to pause and ponder upon their new responsibilities. Death stands at attention, obedient, expectant, ready to serve, ready to shear away the peoples en masse; ready, if called upon, to pulverize, without hope of repair, what is left of civilization. He awaits only the word of command. He awaits it from a frail, bewildered being, long his victim, now—for one occasion only—his master.” —Winston Churchill 

“Science is necessary, and also science is a master. As the human ability to make grows, the human ability to control the engines by which we make diminishes. The logical problem is relentless: we may stay as we are and lead shorter lives of pain and trouble, or we may use our capacity to make our lives easier and safer. If we do that we will gain power, and we can use that power against ourselves.” —Larry Arnn

“No material progress, even though it takes shapes we cannot now conceive, or however it may expand the faculties of man, can bring comfort to his soul.” —Winston Churchill 

“We must never cease to proclaim in fearless tones the great principles of freedom and the rights of man which are the joint inheritance of the English-speaking world and which through Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the Habeas Corpus, trial by jury, and the English common law find their most famous expression in the American Declaration of Independence. …

“All this means that the people of any country have the right, and should have the power by constitutional action, by free unfettered elections, with secret ballot, to choose or change the character or form of government under which they dwell; that freedom of speech and thought should reign; that courts of justice, independent of the executive, unbiased by any party, should administer laws which have received the broad ascent of large majorities or are consecrated by time and custom. Here are the title deeds of freedom what should lie in every cottage home. Here is the message of the British and American peoples to mankind. Let us preach what we practice—let us practice what we preach.” —Winston Churchill

“There is enough for all. The earth is a generous mother; she will provide in plentiful abundance food for all her children if they will but cultivate her soil in justice and in peace.” —Bourke Cockran

“Human relations are not a contest in which the advantage of some requires the disadvantage of others. That means in turn that government need not have the authority to allocate resources, at least not comprehensively. A government with such power would be in one sense at war with any citizens who have more than others, effectively with all citizens but the few poorest.” —Larry Arnn

“In republics, the greater danger is that the majority may not sufficiently respect the rights of the minority.” —James Madison

“He who molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions.” —Abraham Lincoln

“Democracy properly understood means the association of all through the leadership of the best.” —Winston Churchill

“Our hearts will ache…if we have not a vision above material things.” —Winston Churchill

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” —James Madison

“We now watch the workings of a written Constitution enforced by a Supreme Court according to the letter of the law, under which anyone may bring a test case challenging not merely the interpretation of the law, but the law itself, and if the Court decides for the appellant, be he only an owner of a few chickens, the whole action of the Legislature and the Executive becomes to that extent null and void.” —Winston Churchill 

More quotes coming soon…

Churchill’s Trial (book review)

Churchill's TrialI have read so much written by and about Winston Churchill, that it’s hard to imagine learning something new about this remarkable man. And yet, I was amazed at how much more I learned in reading Churchill’s Trial by Larry Arnn.

It’s easy to take for granted the freedoms people have in countries like England and the United States because of the foresight of the framers of our Constitutions. But there are trials which put these freedoms in a precarious place, and if it were not for strong and insightful men—like Winston Churchill—those freedoms could have disappeared.

Churchill played key roles in his country, and in world politics, through two world wars, a global depression, the coming of age of new military super-powers, the dawn of the era of atomic warfare, and the rise of Communism. In all of these intense events, the temptation was there to make radical changes to meet the challenge of the moment. Churchill had the wisdom and foresight to leverage the strength of his country’s Constitution, without undermining it nor setting a precedent which would erode future freedoms.

In what Churchill did for England, he also helped strength the resolve of key leaders in the United States, who faced similar challenges in a shifting geopolitical climate. Churchill not only saved the world from the spread of fascism and communism, but he did so in a way that would guarantee freedom for millions of people in generations to follow. The question before us now is: Will we learn from Churchill’s example, or will we fail the trial we now face?

For history buffs, political junkies, and fans of Winston Churchill, Churchill’s Trial is an excellent read.

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.

I’m A Blessed Man

WeddingThis week I get to celebrate 25 years of being married to the most amazing wife God ever created!

I can relate to Winston Churchill who said, “My most brilliant achievement was the ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.” Amen to that!

So we are off celebrating, and I won’t be blogging this week.

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