Tuesday, December 22, 2009
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, 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 he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. --President Theodore Roosevelt
Peter heard the cock crow. Moses struck the rock. Jonah jumped ship. Eve bit the fruit and Adam followed. None of those pillars of biblical narrative would ever claim to be perfect. And neither do I. I have faltered, and sadly, I will falter again. Paul encourages and reminds the Romans that there is not one person who is righteous; everyone has failed and fallen (3:10, 23). But as believers in Christ, we stand before critics as broken vessels yet claim, through His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5); as piles of ash waiting metaphoric beauty, we claim He uses the base to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27).
Dale Carnegie said, Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain, but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving. Only listen to a critic if they can be forgiving. If not, be unthwarted by their comments. Like my father always told me, to escape criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.