Come At Me, Brethren

4933411158_d307f2590e_zIn a world that seems to be all about pulling out the red carpet for one’s ego, I say this: I need criticism.

I wouldn’t say I love it. But I’ll tell you this: the worst feeling in the world is not criticism. The worst feeling in the world is fearing that people have criticisms of you but won’t tell you.

Sure, I’m a sensitive soul. Perhaps folks want to protect my feelings.

But I’m not going to grow that way. The saying is “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another”. The saying is not “as silence sharpens iron”. Silence doesn’t sharpen anything, except perhaps the cut of my mistakes.

Then I stumbled upon this passage and went yes, yes…this is exactly what I’m talking about!

Do not let my heart turn to any evil thing
or perform wicked acts
with men who commit sin.
Do not let me feast on their delicacies.
Let the righteous one strike me—
it is an act of faithful love;
let him rebuke me—
it is oil for my head;
let me not refuse it.
Even now my prayer is against
the evil acts of the wicked. (Psalm 141:4-5)

Amazing. David would rather be rebuked by a brother than sin against God. How many of us have those two priorities reversed?

My mission teammates once sat me down and informed me that I was behind on my lesson-building preparations. A prominent woman and friend pulled me aside to tell me that a facial expression I’d used while speaking about her husband could be taken the wrong way. And just last year, a looongtime friend sat me down to explain to me how one careless comment of mine had thrown my loyalty into question.

None of these people were wrong.

And I need this stuff. It’s hard to hear, but it’s better than having no idea where I really am, how I’m really doing. It’s better than not growing.

And if I’m ever going to be raised into higher levels of life – ministry, marriage, parenthood – I’m going to need it even more. Every one of those arenas features heavier fire. Even blogging has required stronger discernment and the occasional gentle correction of others.

So I would say to those who call me a friend – if I need refinement, let me know. I welcome it. I need it. We cannot be sharpened if we have thin skin.

And let us all seek out friends, mentors, and spouses who can challenge us kindly and tactfully, but powerfully. It is one of the greatest gifts of Christian community.

*ducks and braces for the firestorm*

The wounds of a friend are trustworthy, but the kisses of an enemy are excessive. (Proverbs 27:6)

22 thoughts on “Come At Me, Brethren

  1. LOL! Glad you’re back, Brandon. A better word for criticism is actually love. “Wear your coat, wipe,your feet, pick up your socks,” those are all demonstrations of affection. When we don’t care, we don’t say those things to people. So we’re not actually being criticized, we’re simply receiving love.

    The world of course, mucks it all up. So if we bump into overly critical and judgmental people,or perhaps if we’re the youngest child, all that love can start to feel more like criticism.

    A couple of really cool synonyms for criticism are actually “appreciation” and “appraisal.”

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I definitely agree with this!!! I have said this often. Tell ME! I love that scripture. I think that I wrote something similar a while ago, or perhaps it was just my thought on Facebook. Great post, Brandon.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ditto Brandon! Couldn’t agree with you more. Although I like to call it recommendations for improvement instead of criticism. Unfortunately most people are too scared to offend anyone to speak the truth… Also see Proverbs 10:10 – Someone who holds back the truth causes trouble but one who openly criticizes works for peace.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Brandon,
    I turned 60 in October. I was saved at 8 but really did not become passionate about Jesus until 30. At that time I went through deliverance and inner healing…yes we can have demons.
    What I had to learn and am learning is that I cannot measure myself as to my growth or my actions. Nor, by the way, can anyone else.
    There have been times where rebukes have been right on. How do I know this? I go to my Daddy and ask.
    See, my experience is that most believers do not have an intimate relationship with Daddy God. Over the years I have learned to sit, first at His feet but eventually sitting beside Him with Jesus.
    When someone accuses me of something my first response is to go to turn to Him and ask Him about it. Sometimes He says, “yes they are correct”, and I then repent.
    Most times though, I turn and converse with Him and He shows me His perspective. Often, what He shows me is that, yes about 1% of what they are saying is true and I repent of that part.
    One thing I have learned is that, as you pointed out, many times people are silent. the thing is that when they do attempt to rebuke, correct etc they are often still silent. They very often, are reacting to us because of unforgiveness or hurt toward another and some action or words we say trigger their old feelings. Often they are completely unaware of those things since they have been reacting to situations in their life that way for a long time.
    Concrete example:
    Many years ago my wife and I were a part of a small group. One of the couples in the group had separated. The husband had a problem with alcohol, had been fired a couple of times for missing too much work and she asked him to leave.
    She placed some very specific conditions and time frames she expected in order for them to reconcile.
    After about a year the husband had been getting counseling from the couple who facilitated the group and had gone through deliverance. He had met all the conditions and had gotten and kept a job for 10 months.
    The wife was speaking to the group with her husband present and was badmouthing him and saying because he had all these other problems as well, she was not going to allow him back. I need to add that everyone in the group was aware of the situation. As she spoke I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me to say something.
    So, I told her she was wrong. That he had met all of her conditions and more and that she needed to reconcile with him as was scriptural.
    She said nothing but that week ended up going to the church pastor where we all attended and complained that I had no right to say anything since I was not the leader.
    Background: I had been in small groups with the couple who facilitated in a number of different cities we all lived in over a number of years and knew they did not see themselves as the leaders but only facilitated whatever the Holy Spirit was doing.
    The pastor called me in. He confronted me and said I had no authority to correct someone like that. When I tried to explain he said I was being rebellious because I would not agree that I had done anything wrong. Even offered to mentor me. Holy Spirit told me I was not rebellious in that area and had done exactly what was needed.
    The thing is, the woman the following week, ended up repenting and reconciled to her husband.
    For several years until they moved across the country she would call from time to time for prayer and counseling in different situations.
    So should I have repented to the pastor for being out of order or should I, as I did, follow the Spirit?
    Learn to hear His voice and you will always be where you are supposed to be with Him. The only person I have to give any account to is Him. If I am good with Him it doesn’t matter if others are offended. We can’t allow ourselves or others to determine our walk.
    Do I seek counsel? Of course. Most of my friends though, when I do, ask me one question. What is Daddy telling you?
    You are a man of God Brandon. Fall more in love with Him. Seek His face. Look unto Jesus, the author, and FINISHER of our faith.
    Feast on His flesh…the Word. Drink of His blood…the river of Life, His Holy Spirit.
    Live in the extasy of His Love for you. Live in the Joy of His pleasure toward you.
    Gazing at His Glory causes all the pain, heartache, sin and everything else not of Him to just slough off. No work except to strive to enter His rest. Rest in His finished work in us. His perspective is that it is already done since He knows the beginning from the end. Become the Manifest Son of God you are created to be. Looking, acting, thinking and loving like Him.
    He believes in you.
    So do I.
    Sorry so long. Just want you to be all He has called you to be.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Pingback: A Faith in Recovery | Bring It On – Ex-Narnian

  6. We all need to grow. It is spiritually healthy for us to hear from others if we get out of step with the Father or the word. I know I appreciate it even though it may be hard to hear sometimes. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

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