Make 3 Days Criticism Free

By Marjorie Foerster Eddington

Paul had successful, but incredibly difficult, experiences as he brought the message of the Christ to the Jews who would listen (but most didn't) and especially to the Gentiles. Acts ends with Paul arriving in Rome and preaching and teaching "The Way." Throughout his journeys, he was confronted with more than just criticism. Mobs bad-mouthed him, attacked him, tried to kill him, left him for dead, got him whipped and thrown into prison, etc.

Yet, throughout all of this, Paul

  • did not let criticism bother him or stop his work,
  • did not come down to their level and criticize them, but
  • spoke the truth, and thus
  • brought Christianity to the world through love and grace.

Sometimes he stood his ground, and other times, he left the situation. It seems very clear that Paul turned to God for guidance as to what to say, when to talk, and when to move on. He did nothing unless he was inspired by God.

Like Paul, we can make a difference.

If Paul can face public slander, beatings, gossip, mob brutality, prison, and death with grace, we certainly can accept criticism with grace.

  1. Refuse to let criticism bother us.
  2. Take the best interpretation of what others say.
  3. Listen to other’s comments to see if their points will help us become better individuals.
  4. Pray to get a better understanding of ourselves as God’s child.
  5. Don’t let criticism (or anything else, for that matter) get in the way of our ability to love others, for loving others is, indeed, the gospel of the Christ, which Paul preached.

The next goal, good deed, activity, which follows the spirit of Paul's teachings, has been recommended by others (counselors and religious leaders, alike) and modified to work for our purposes. Paul certainly accomplished this task for more than 3 days.

For 3 days this month:

  1. Refuse to say anything critical.
  2. Every time we’re tempted to say anything hinting of criticism, close our mouths, bite our tongues, do whatever is necessary not to say it.
  3. Only say something if it’s God-inspired.
  4. Find something to appreciate in the person we’re about to criticize (even if it’s ourselves).
  5. Share the compliment with the person (including ourselves).
  6. Build up others (even if you weren’t going to criticize them).
  7. Watch what happens when we don’t criticize but build up people instead.
    1. If for some reason, you don’t see positive results, keep at it. Some people have a lot of defenses built up, and they take awhile to break down.
    2. Don’t forget to look for the positive effect in the way you view yourself.

Now, if at any time during the 3 days we make a critical comment, our 3 days starts completely over. This "assignment" is surprisingly difficult, but it's worth it! Enjoy!