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I am the Pastor/Teacher of Rivers of Joy Baptist Church in Minford, Ohio since August 2008.  I am married to Charity since June 14, 1969.  I have four grown children.   Having served in the local church for over forty years as Pastor/Teacher, Asso., Youth Pastor, Minister of Education, Building Upkeep, Camp Director, Sunday School Teacher, etc. Also I have worked in the public place for as many years as I have preached. Charity and her sister are co owner of Union Mills Conf. (Bakery) in West Portsmouth Ohio

Part Two
  • We also read earnest, pointed, forceful exhortations like these:
  • Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,but a wise man listens to advice.
  • Proverbs 15:32 Whoever ignores instruction despises himself,but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.
  • Proverbs 17:10 A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understandingthan a hundred blows into a fool.
  • Proverbs 19:20 Listen to advice and accept instruction,that you may gain wisdom in the future.
  • Proverbs 29:1 He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck,will suddenly be broken beyond healing.
  • Ecclesiastes 7:5 It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wisethan to hear the song of fools.

The stance of the wise should be to be very open and receptive to criticism; indeed, to welcome it. ( which I must say it’s not always true of us) After all, what is our goal? Is it to maintain every position intact, never grow, never realize that a thing can be handled better than we'd done in the past? Or can we grow by learning? Or is it to keep growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ, which necessarily involves what Luther's first Thesis calls an "entire life... of repentance." I knew Martin Luther was a little biblical.

  • If you've spilled catsup all over your shirt/ or /blouse, would you rather that no one remark anything, so that you can maintain the illusion that you are fit and perfectly spic-and-span - until you get home and realize you've looked like a piglet all evening?

  • Or would you rather someone tell you in affection, so that you can try to do something about it?So if we have hideous and destructive attitudes or behaviors, is it our priority to maintain the illusion that we've triumphed until we arrive home and realize what a perfect predicament we’re in?

So, yikes: this second volume of texts strongly urges listening to criticism, hearing and heeding it, taking it to heart. It urgently warns us against deaf ears, hard and arrogant hearts, and stiff necks. Oh, except for Glenn Franke’s comments about my grammar. (Jesting)

So what do we do? We hazard to assume that majority opinion is right; we risk to assume that any criticism is wrong. The polls are not always right. But there is some thought to be given.I

Indeed, I think that is exactly what leaders must do. If you hear criticism, and never think it has even a grain of wisdom and truth in it, you're either Jesus, or you have your heart in the wrong place.

But equally, if you're like President Logan in Season Four of 24, with no root nor rudder, you're not wearing the mantle of leadership well.

When it comes to criticism, I think the best target is: Be neither indifferent, nor a hostage. You should listen, and listen firmly. You should consider it carefully and unsparingly before God, but you must weigh it honestly and humbly. Our own personal stance should be like that of the wise man in Proverbs 9:8b-9:
...reprove a wise man, and he will love you.9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.

Now here's the depressing part. Almost invariably you will infuriate, and perhaps unintentionally make an enemy of, every examiner whose advice you don't fully follow.

Show me a leader with no enemies, and I'll show you a zero leader. The wiser of your critics will realize that you will ultimately not stand before the judgment seat of them, but the judgment seat of God (Those who believe they will) - and at some point this must rule your perspective. They'll not make everything ride on your accepting the infallibility of their judgment.And given that God both counsels us to take disapproval very seriously, and not to be it’s captive, the Lord’s perspective will be our wisest perspective.

My friend Bruce Traeger from Cedarville College: put it this way:

  • "For some, disagreement is the enemy of their soul and therefore, those who think differently from them are to be opposed at all costs. For theirs is a life of certain knowledge which can only be instructedfurther by those who already think like them.

Some people see disagreement with them as criticism.

  • "For others, disagreement is a tool that can sharpen the mind, shape the will, and open our hearts to the realization that this side of eternity, there is only One who has absolute knowledge in all things and in all things He knows absolutely. May the Lord help us to continually learn from Him and one another. "

Any disagreement or criticism that is designed for Growing by Learning, please email by writer. at CWhisna@aol.com.

Adopted by Charles E. Whisnant 01 29 07 Checked by Charity Whisnant 01 30 07