'The only way to avoid criticism is to do
nothing, say nothing and be nothing.' Everyone
seems to be an expert in finding faults …
spouses, friends, co-workers, parishioners,
children. We often seem to get them wrong:
we do the wrong thing, say the wrong thing,
and fail to notice the things that we're
supposed to notice.
Being right doesn't help. Neither does
everyone or being perfect. The world
the only One with these qualities.
criticized by friends, family and religious
The criticism is sometimes a comment,
sometimes only a look, a sigh, or even
But we have no doubt that we've been
lacking once again! What we do or say
not correspond to their expectations.
Sometimes we react well. Like the preacher
when confronted with a parishioner
his homilies. He just looked at the
and said, "If what you say is
would you mind praying for me?"
as Dale Carnegie once said, any fool
criticize, condemn, and complain -
fools do. So, he continues, when they
you a lemon, make lemonade!
Easier said than done! Many times we
defensive or discouraged. We can pretend
indifference. We can conjure up justifications
for ourselves, explaining why we had
what we did. We can reply angrily and
the critic - in our hearts or out loud.
can blurt out the list of accomplishments
to use as armor against our critics.
problem is that none of this seems
It is true, criticism has a positive
First of all, if you are being criticized
it is probably because you have taken
and did something. Secondly, as with
criticism may be regarded as valuable
and a necessary part of the learning
It was the negative criticism that
Beethoven and Mozart to soar higher.
book of Proverbs says, "Listen
and accept instruction, that you may
wisdom for the future."
But why is it that we cannot just ignore
the criticism and move forward without
and pain? Because there is an underlying
issue that needs to be resolved. We
to be valued for who we are. But in
we hear, 'I value you less' or 'I don't
you at all' or 'I'd value you more
hadn't done or said that.'
This is why the real way to handle
is discovering someone who can value
we are. Someone who will still value
we mess up. Someone who will never
down. And as far as I know, there is
one who can do this. His name is God.
If we live in the awareness of His
criticism loses a lot of its bite.
no longer that important what people
of us. The pastor received an anonymous
with nothing but the word 'FOOL!' written
on it. The next Sunday he said in Church,
'I've gotten many notes without signatures
before, but this is the first time
one where someone forgot to write the
and just signed his name!'
At one point in his ministry, George
an English evangelist received a vicious
letter accusing him of wrongdoing.
was brief and courteous: "I thank
heartily for your letter. As for what
and my other enemies are saying against
I know worse things about myself than
will ever say about me. With love in
Beat your critic down with humor. After
one of the listeners came up to the
and said, "Father, you quoted
book of the Scriptures." "Yes?"
he answered, "And what else did
get out of the sermon?"
A young musician's concert was poorly
by the critics. The famous Finnish
Jean Sibelius consoled him by patting
on the shoulder and saying, "Remember,
son, there is no city in the world
they built a statue to a critic."
The story is told of a judge who was
ridiculed by a lawyer. When asked by
why he didn't rebuke his assailant,
"In our town lives a widow who
dog. And whenever the moon shines,
goes outside and barks all night."
asked the friend… "Oh," the
replied, "the moon goes on shining
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
hereby granted for any non-commercial
provided that the content is unaltered
its original state, if this copyright