Handling Critical People – (2,885 YouTube views) Handling critical people is not difficult when we realize people will criticize you. Realize everyone does not feel critical about you. We must listen to wise criticism. Dismiss foolish criticism. Evaluate a critical person’s mental and physical state. By doing this, you will position yourself among the wise. The first thing to realize is that people are going to criticize you no matter who you are or what you do. It was Abraham Lincoln who said while being criticized, “You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time” and they shot him. You will be criticized, but hopefully not shot.
HANDLING DIFFICULT PEOPLE
By Pastor Delbert Young
Handling Critical People
Handling Critical People
Scriptures: Scriptures: Numbers 12:1; Exodus 14:12; Ecclesiastes 7:5-6;Romans 2:21-23; Proverbs 15:31-32; Matthew 15:12-14; 1 Thessalonians 2:4
We are beginning a new series today that I am calling HANDLING DIFFICULT PEOPLE. I was surfing the web and both heard and read a few lessons on this topic. One of the resources I will use is Life Church.tv. That is the Church in OKC where Lance, my son, is an associate pastor. They offer tremendous resources, so why not use them? I also got a book or two on the subject and I thought this would be something that would help us all in two ways. (1) It should give us understanding to help HANDLE DIFFICULT PEOPLE in our lives not only by recognizing them, but help us understand why they do what they do. (2) It will help us identify our own selves as difficult and understand why we are.
Let’s begin with talking about HANDLING CRITICAL PEOPLE. The first thing to realize is that people are going to criticize you no matter who you are or what you do. It was Abraham Lincoln who said, when being criticized, “You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time” and they shot him. You will be criticized, but hopefully not shot. The more you do, the more people criticize. That shows us that it is not always bad to be criticized. It means you could be doing something.
I remember how as a young pastor, I allowed criticism to so affect me. I desire to do a great job and I try so hard. I remember once a man invited me to his house where he proceeded to roast me. He actually had a list of notes from where he had gone around questioning members to critique me. He wrote down the criticisms and blasted me. I became so self-conscious of that criticism I could not make eye contact with people while I was preaching. I would look over their heads or at the wall, but I learned that I was going to be criticized and sometimes greatly. The first thing you need to know about HANDLING CRITICAL Peoples that you will be criticized. Say this with me: I WILL BE CRITICIZED. That is not a negative confession. That is reality. It will help you to know that people will criticize you. When you see a punch coming, you can block it. They criticized Jesus and still do 2,000 years later. They said Jesus hung out with the wrong people – prostitutes and sinners. They said he didn’t wash his hands correctly. They said he healed people on the Sabbath. They said he was a glutton and a wine bibber. They criticized the Apostle Paul. They said he had a whinny voice and was short.
Study it out. Look at whomever you will. Every person was criticized, and especially those who made a difference. They criticized Moses about everything.
Numbers 12:1 While they were at Hazeroth, MIRIAM AND AARON CRITICIZED MOSES because he had married a Cushite woman.
Moses learned how to handle critical people in his own family, but this is not so strange. Moses married a woman from a different race and skin color. His own family members criticized him. Perhaps you married again and people criticized you. Perhaps you married someone of whom your own family members did not approve. Maybe your own family members criticize you about something, which is common. Just remember, people will criticize you.
People criticized Moses for leading them out of slavery.
Exodus 14:12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
Moses was only trying to do what God told him and trying to help people. Yet, people criticized him. Say it again. “I WILL BE CRITICIZED.” So, how do you HANDLE CRITICISM? Probably not very well. In my case, I felt everyone felt the way that man I spoke of earlier felt about me. This is the next thing you need to know when HANDLING CRITICAL PEOPLE. People will criticize you, but normally there numbers are few. Actually, only a few felt the way that man felt toward me. They seemed like many, but actually were only a few. However, I focused on the few, but I learned not to focus on ALL my critics through that experience.
Ecclesiastes 7:5-6 It is better to be criticized by a WISE PERSON than to be praised by a FOOL! Indeed, a fool’s laughter is quickly gone, like thorns crackling in a fire. This also is MEANINGLESS.
Notice not all criticism is bad. I have come to a place in my life where I “mostly” enjoy criticism and I will elaborate on this shortly. When a wise person comes to me with “criticism,” I see it as input to help me and make me better. If a fool comes to me with criticism, I begin my processing. Realize that praise or criticism from a fool is basically meaningless except for giving you insight to that person’s heart. Allow me to explain.
Praise shows you what people value. If a person comments about someone wearing nice clothes, it means that person values nice clothes. I will never forget my daughter Bonnie telling me how she was standing at the window in her then new house and noticing the designer shirt someone walking on the street was wearing. Designer clothes are valuable to her. When I go fishing, people constantly make compliments about my boat. That means those people value boats. We all praise what we value. If what we praise shows what we value, what does criticism show? That which a person overly criticizes reveals their insecurities.
I shared with you about the time a person roasted me with criticism. I became very insecure in my ability to preach and teach. In turn, I became extremely critical of other preachers. I criticized TV preachers, radio preachers, any, and all preachers. My criticism revealed my own insecurities. When you think about it, that makes perfect sense. If not insecure about it ourselves, why would it matter what or how someone else does it? We are judgmental and critical of things of which we are insecure.
Romans 2:21-23 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?
Apostle Paul is saying the things people criticize others of doing, they themselves do. It’s what critical people do. A person criticizes someone, but is actually guilty him or herself. A person criticizes a thief, but he or she is one. A person criticizes the adulterer, but commits adultery. A person criticizes someone’s idols, but has idols in his or her own life. Understanding that the things a person criticizes are often the very things with which that person struggles will give you insight to their/your soul.
Many insecurities are developed in childhood when parents criticize their children because of the parent’s own insecurities. For example, calling a child fat, or stupid, etc. only reveals the insecurities of the parent. Let’s pursue this. Most men marry someone like their mom and most women marry someone like their dad. Many times, a person raised in a critical home with critical parents will marry a critical person. The critical nature is passed on to the next generation and on and on.
I remember a man who criticized me about everything and I mean everything. However, he also criticized everyone else who lived about everything. He was a non-discrimination criticizer. I do not care who you are, if this person knew you, he criticized you. He was the most insecure person I ever met. I discovered the childhood he lived. Insecurities are actually fears. That person was actually full of fears and sadly, the things that man criticized everyone about literally were happening or happened in his life. His life fell apart in every area.
Knowledge is high ground. What I am attempting to show you is critical people have serious problems. If you apply this knowledge, you will better HANDLE CRITICAL PEOPLE. Instead of becoming angry with them, have empathy. Take the high ground, analyze, and realize that most likely the person criticizing you has serious problems in that very area him or herself and usually it goes back to childhood.
I am thinking of another person. He is an elderly man and again, one of the most critical people I ever met. Nothing was good. Everything was bad. Again, as I spoke with him, I discovered the horrific childhood he experienced. The childhood criticism that man experienced tremendously damaged him his entire life. Not being able to HANDLE CRITICAL PEOPLE can and will damage you. You will find the more critical the person, the more miserable the person. Every very critical person I know is a very miserable person.
With that said, let’s look at some ways to HANDLE CRITICAL PEOPLE? Let’s first look at an incorrect way.
Become angry and criticize back. The first thing our carnal nature wants to do is to defend ourselves. We want to say something like, “Well, what about you? You do this and that. Who do you think you are judging me?” That is the wrong thing to do. You are now stooping to their level. You are becoming part of the problem and not the solution. Let’s look at some correct ways to HANDLE CRITICAL PEOPLE.
(1) LISTEN TO “WISE” CRITICISM, OR “CONSTRUCTIVE” CRITICISM. When do you know it is wise or constructive criticism? First, it is coming from a wise person, not a critical fool. Wise or constructive criticism comes when a person wants to help with solutions and not only criticize you. When a person wants to involve themselves, their time, or their money to bring a positive solution, you know it is constructive. Their motive is pure if they will invest into the solution.
(NLT) Proverbs 15:31-32 If you LISTEN TO CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM, you will be at home among the wise. If you reject criticism, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.
It is a learned art to listen to constructive criticism. Again, constructive criticism is from wise people and, if listened to, will place you among the wise. YOU WILL NEVER BE WISE OR THE BEST YOU CAN BE UNLESS YOU LEARN THE ART OF LISTENING TO CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM.
(2) DISMISS INVALID CRITICISM. Some people are just critical. Each and every time you are around them, they criticize you, someone else, gasoline prices, their job, spouse, the president, the dog, etc. Everything coming out of their mouth is negative and critical. The Bible calls them fools. You will even catch yourself thinking something like this: “How foolish that sounds.” Wise people simply dismiss the words of fools. You smile, nod, and dismiss. Unless you are willing to invest your time, money, and emotions, you are not going to change them, so do not waste your precious time defending yourself, or reasoning. Dismiss it and let God deal with them.
(NLT) Matthew 15:12-14 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?” Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be rooted up, so IGNORE THEM…”
Pharisees were criticizing Jesus because of his teaching. Jesus said let it go – ignore them. What they are saying is not worth discussing, so dismiss it.
Realize the more affective you are, the bigger target you become for criticism. If you have a good marriage, you become a larger target for criticism. If you are financially stable, you become a larger target for criticism. If you have good children, you become a larger target for criticism. If you are successful, you are a very large target for criticism. As you rise in influence, you become a greater target for criticism. If you do not learn to dismiss it, criticism will stop you and even destroy you. Shake it off. Do not internalize it, and move on.
(3) EVALUATE THE PERSON’S EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL STATE. Have you ever tried to comfort an injured animal? They will bite you. Injured people will bite you. You do not dismiss them, but you do realize they are wounded and in defense mode. I have been to hospitals visiting people in pain and very sick. They can say hurting critical things when in pain and sick. If you have or had a parent or grandparent suffering mental problems, you know of what I speak. Do not dismiss the person, but dismiss the words. As a dog hit by a car will bite you, hurting people will bite you with criticism. For example, people who do not tithe and find themselves hurting financially will criticize/bite the one who tithes and has his or her finances working. Another example would be to ask what hormonal state the person is in and I am not making a funny. Every married man in here knows when hormones get out of balance, you get bit. You do not dismiss your wife (neither does that justify her being mean), but you do dismiss her criticism. She is not well. If you are a wife, what mental stress is your husband under? Stress will cause criticism (but neither does that justify him being mean). My point is to evaluate the person’s emotional and physical state. If something is going on, do not dismiss the person, but dismiss the criticism.
Criticism said years ago haunts some of you today. Some of you are haunted by criticism said by someone who is not even alive today. Let it go. Criticism has paralyzed some of you. Let it go. Dismiss it.
It was Easter Sunday a while back. Someone found me 15 minutes before the service and said, “I need to talk to you.” I said ok. We were next to the door of my study, so I said, let’s go in. We did and he began to tell me he and his family were leaving the church and gave me his reasons. It was Easter Sunday – biggest day of the year for church. I had to carry that fresh criticism to the pulpit and attempt to minister to people. I could have taken the criticism personal and allowed it to devastate me and affect everyone that Easter morning, or I could dismiss it and let it go. Thank God, I have learned to let foolish criticism go. Don’t get me wrong. Criticism is never easy to let go, but I refuse to allow it to hurt or stop me.
Delbert, how in the world do you “learn” to not allow criticism to hurt and affect you? There is really only one way. Remember, Abraham Lincoln said, “You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time” and that is true. However, you can please God.
1 Thessalonians 2:4 On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. WE ARE NOT TRYING TO PLEASE MEN BUT GOD, who tests our hearts.
We cannot be driven or stopped by what other people say. How do you learn not to allow criticism to hurt and affect you? Simply by knowing you have pleased God. Once that is determined, it does not matter what people say.
I want to talk to you who have a real problem criticizing others. First, you will never change anyone with your criticism. Your criticism is motivated by the wrong purpose. It is coming from hurts and wounds of your past. Instead of being constructive, your words are poison and you know it. In fact, you intend for them to be. You use them to gouge and justify your own weaknesses. You are a miserable person. Christians, to me, are the most critical and mean people in the world, especially toward other Christians. They turn God’s love and knowledge into personal judgment. They talk about other Christians and other ministries and things that at the end of the day mean nothing. They end up adding to the problem and not being part of the solution. If you look for something to criticize, you will find it. Today, you need to look into your soul. You need to dismiss childhood criticism and hurts you experienced in your past. You need to ignore them. Unless you do, you will be an old mean hateful person.
Finally, HANDLING CRITICAL PEOPLE is not difficult. Realize people will criticize you. Realize everyone does not feel that way about you. Listen to wise criticism. Dismiss foolish criticism. Evaluate a critical person’s mental and physical state. By doing this, you will position yourself among the wise. Let’s pray.
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