1. A farmer’s wife had spread a slanderous story about her pastor through the village, and soon the whole countryside had heard it. Some time later the woman became sick and confessed the story was untrue. After her recovery she came to the pastor and craved his pardon. The old pastor said, “Of course I will gladly pardon you if you will comply with a wish of mine.”
“Gladly,” replied the woman. “Go home, kill a black hen, pluck the feathers, and put them in a basket and bring them here.”
In half an hour she was back. “Now,” said the pastor, “go through the village and at each street corner scatter a few of these feathers, the remaining ones take to the top of the bell tower and scatter them to the winds, then return.” She did so. “Now go through the village and gather the feathers again, and see that not one is missing.”
The woman looked at the pastor in astonishment and said, “Why that is impossible! The wind has scattered them over the fields everywhere!”
“And so,” said he, “while I forgive you gladly, do not forget that you can never undo the damage your untrue words have done.”
2. If some bit of gossip come,
File the thing away;
If a scandalous, spicy crumb,
File the thing away;
If suspicion comes to you
That your neighbour is not true,
Let me tell you what to do,–
File the thing away.
Do this for a little while,
Then go out and burn the file.
3. After counting another person’s faults, multiply by two & you will have a fair estimate of your own.
4. If you must publish someone’s faults, publish your own.
5. Most of us can live peacefully with our own faults, but the faults of others get on our nerves.
6. The friend who is constantly trying to correct your faults is not a friend–he’s a critic.
7. A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him.
8. You may go through the world, but ’twill be very slow
If you listen to all that is said as you go;
You’ll be worried and fretted and kept in a stew,
For meddlesome tongues must have something to do–
For people will talk.
If quiet and modest, you’ll have it presumed
That your humble position is only assumed;
You’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing, or else you’re a fool;
But don’t get excited, keep perfectly cool–
For people will talk.
And then if you show the least boldness of heart,
Or slight inclination to take your own part,
They will call you an upstart, conceited and vain;
But keep straight ahead–don’t stop to explain–
For people will talk.
9. During early childhood I had a fiery temper which often caused me to say or do unkind things.
One day, after an argument had sent one of my playmates home in tears, my father told me that for each thoughtless, mean thing I did he would drive a nail into our gatepost. Each time I did a kindness or a good deed, one nail would be withdrawn.
Months passed. Each time I entered our gate, I was reminded of the reasons for those ever-increasing nails, until finally, getting them out became a challenge.
At last the wished-for day arrived–only one more nail! As my father withdrew it I danced around proudly exclaiming, “See, Daddy, the nails are all gone.”
Father gazed intently at the post as he thoughtfully replied, “Yes, the nails are gone–but the scars remain.”
10. After hundreds of years, a model preacher has been found to suit everyone. He preaches exactly 20 minutes and then sits down. He condemns sin, but never hurts anyone’s feelings.
He works from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. in every type of work from preaching to custodial service. He gives $60 a week to the church. He also stands ready to contribute to every good work that comes along.
He is 26 years old and has been preaching for 30 years. He is tall and short, thin, heavyset, and handsome. He has one brown eye and one blue, hair parted down the middle, left side dark and straight, the right brown and wavy.
He has a burning desire to work with teenagers, and spends all his time with older folks. He smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his work.
He makes 15 calls a day on church members, spends all his time evangelizing the unchurched, and is never out of his office.
11. You can’t hold another fellow down in the ditch unless you stay down there with him.
12. The slanderer differs from the assassin only in that he murders the reputation instead the body.
13. The size of the other man’s faults depends on how much they annoy you.
14. A good memory test is to recall all the kind things you have said about your neighbour.
15. Kind words are short to speak, but their echoes are endless.
16. A little seed lay in the ground,
And soon began to sprout;
“Now which of all the flowers around,”
It mused, “Shall I come out?
The lily’s face is fair, and proud,
But just a trifle cold;
The rose, I think is rather loud,
And then, its fashion’s old.
The violet is all very well,
But not a flower I’d choose,
Nor yet the Canterbury bell,
I never cared for blues.”
And so it criticized each flower,
This supercilious seed,
Until it woke one summer hour,
AND FOUND ITSELF A WEED!
17. Dr. Mclean tells how he was rebuked and humbled on a certain occasion when he repeated a grave matter he had heard to a friend. His friend opened his Bible to Deuteronomy 13:14 and read: “If thou shalt hear say … then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain that such abomination is wrought among you …”
Then his friend turned quietly to him and asked: “Have you, dear brother, enquired?”
“Have you ‘made search?’
“Did you ‘ask diligently?’
“Did you try and find out if the story is true?
“And is the thing ‘certain?’
“Is it certain that ‘such abomination is wrought among you?'”
Dr. Mclean says he could only acknowledge regretfully that he had not fulfilled any one condition and was repeating the tale from hearsay without making the slightest attempt to act thereon in a Scriptural way.
18. If you’re not mature enough to take criticism, you’re too immature for praise.
19. The idea some people have of keeping a secret is lowering their voices when they tell it.
20. Some folks’ idea of keeping a secret is merely refusing to tell who told it to them.
21. The man with a new idea is often considered a crank until the idea succeeds.
22. Plant a little gossip & you will reap a harvest of regret.
23. I stood on the streets of a busy town,
Watching men tearing a building down:
With a “Ho, heave, ho,” and a lusty yell,
They swung a beam and a sidewall fell.
I asked the foreman of the crew,
“Are those men as skilled as those you’d hire if you wanted to build?”
“Ah, no,” he said, “no indeed.
Just common labor is all I need.
I can tear down as much in a day or two,
As would take skilled men a year to do.”
And then I thought as I went on my way,
Just which of these two roles am I trying to play?
Have I walked life’s road with care,
Measuring each deed with rule and square?
Or am I one of those who roam the town,
Content with the labor of tearing down?
24. David H. Fink, author of Release from Nervous Tension, wrote an article for the Coronet Magazine, in which he made a striking suggestion as to how we can overcome mental and emotional tensions.
As a psychiatrist for the Veterans Administration he was familiar with 10,000 case histories in this field. Thousands of people, who were mentally and emotionally “tied up” had asked Dr. Fink for some short, magic-button cure for nervousness. In his search for such a cure he studied two groups; the first group was made up of thousands of people who were suffering from mental and emotional disturbances; the second group contained only those, thousands of them, who were free from such tensions.
Gradually one fact began to stand out: those who suffered from extreme tension had one trait in common-they were habitual faultfinders, constant critics of people and things around them. Whereas the men and women who were free of all tensions were the least faultfinding. It would seem that the habit of criticizing is a prelude or mark of the nervous, and of the mentally unbalanced.
25. While contending with the manifold problems of geography and climate in the building of the Panama Canal, Colonel George Washington Goethals had to endure the carping criticism of countless busybodies back home who freely predicted that he would never complete his great task. But the resolute builder pressed steadily forward in his work, and said nothing.
“Aren’t you going to answer your critics?” a subordinate inquired.
“In time,” Goethals replied.
The great engineer smiled. “With the canal,” he replied.
26. We usually admire the other fellow more after we have tried to do his job.
27. At no time is a little knowledge more dangerous than when you are using it to start a rumour.
28. Gossip is one form of crime for which the law provides no punishment.
29. Gossip is like mud thrown on a clean wall. It may not stick but it always leaves a dirty mark.
30. Gossip is what might be called “ear pollution.”
31. Pray don’t find fault with a man who limps
Or stumbles along the road,
Unless you have worn the shoes he wears
Or struggled beneath his load.
There may be tacks in his shoes that hurt,
Though hidden away from view,
Or the burden he bears, placed on your back,
Might cause you to stumble, too.
Don’t sneer at the man who is down today,
Unless you have felt the blow
That caused his fall, or felt the shame
That only the fallen know.
You may be strong, but still the blows
That were his, if dealt to you
In the self same way at the self same time,
Might cause you to stagger, too.
Don’t be too harsh with a man who sins,
Or pelt him with words or stones,
Unless you are sure, yea, doubly sure,
That you have not sins of your own.
For you know, perhaps, if the tempter’s voice
Should whisper as soft to you
As it did to him when he went astray
“Twould cause you to falter, too.”
32. Fear of criticism is the kiss of death in the courtship of achievement.
33. The human race is divided into two classes–those who go ahead and do something and those who sit still and inquire, “Why wasn’t it done the other way?” –Oliver Wendell Holmes
34. A preacher had on his desk a special book labeled “Complaints of members against one another.” When one of his people called to tell him the faults of another he would say, “Well, here’s my complaint book. I’ll write down what you say, and you can sign it. Then when I have to take up the matter officially I shall know what I may expect you to testify to.” The sight of the open book and the ready pen had its effect, “Oh, no, I couldn’t sign anything like that!” and no entry was made. The preacher said he kept the book for forty years, opened it probably a thousand times, and never wrote a line in it.
35. Believe not half you hear; repeat not half you believe; when you hear an evil report, halve it, then quarter it, & say nothing about the rest of it.
36. One of the easiest habits for any human being to acquire is the habit of criticising others.–Spiros Zodhiates
37. You have to be little to belittle.
38. Prophets of God have usually been on the receiving end of more mud than medals.
39. Both Dr. Henry Clay Trumbull and Dr. Charles G. Trumbull, the illustrious editors of The Sunday School Times, used to say that when criticism comes we ought to see whether there is any truth in it, and learn from that truth, and not let our thoughts be distracted by the fact that the criticism may not have been given in the right spirit.
In the face of criticism, by word or by letter, it is well to
(1) Commit the matter instantly to God, asking Him to remove all resentment or counter-criticism on our part, and teach us needed lessons;
(2) “Consider him that endured such contradictions of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds,” remembering that we ourselves are very great sinners, and that the one who has criticized us does not really know the worst;
(3) Take account of the personal bias of the speaker or writer;
(4) Remember that “a soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Prov.15:1);
(5) If the criticism is true, and we have made a mistake or committed a sin, let us humbly and frankly confess our sin to Him, and to anyone whom we may have injured;
(6) Learn afresh that we are fallible, and that we need His grace and wisdom moment by moment to keep us in the straight path;
(7) Then,–and not until then–“forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before … press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
40. The moon could not go on shining if it paid any attention to the little dogs that bark at it.
41. Sometimes a reprimand is only a grouch in disguise.
42. The critic is a person who has you write it, sing it, play it, paint it, or carve it as he would–if he could!
43. Search thy own heart; what paineth thee in others in thyself may be.
44. Wisdom teaches us to wink at many of the injuries that are done to us, & act as if we did not see them.
45. The person who is never criticised is not breathing.
46. It’s not the people who tell all they know who start trouble–it’s the people who tell more than they know.
47. Before criticising a sermon, why not consider how much it actually cost you? You might conclude that you got your money’s worth.
48. Never be afraid to test yourself by your critic’s words.
49. To all my faults my eyes are blind;
Mine are the sins I cannot find.
But your mistakes I see aplenty;
For them my eyes are twenty-twenty.
50. F.W. Boreham tells of the happy soul whose home is the Other End of Nowhere. He has two pockets. One has a hole in it and the other is carefully watched that no hole develops in it. Everything that he hears of a hurtful nature–insult, cutting remark, gossip, unclean suggestion, or any such thing–he writes on a piece of paper and sticks it into his pocket with the hole. Everything which he hears that is kind, true, and helpful, he writes on a piece of paper and puts it in the pocket without the hole.
At night he turns out all that is in the pocket without the hole, goes over all that he had put into it during the day, and thoroughly enjoys all the good things that have come his way that day.
Then he sticks his hand into the pocket with the hole and finds nothing there, so he laughs and rejoices that there are no evil things to rehearse. Too many of us reverse the other, putting the evil things in the pocket without the hole so that we can mull over them again and again, and the good things in the pocket with the hole so that they are quickly forgotten. Paul’s way was: “whatsoever things are true…think on these things.”
51. A guest sees more in an hour than the host in a year.
52. Do you know that a man was once court-martialed and sentenced to a year’s imprisonment for being a discourager? It happened during the Boer War at the siege of Ladysmith. The fortunes of the town and garrison were hanging in the balance. This civilian would go along the lines and speak discouraging words to the men on duty. He struck no blow for the enemy, not one. He was just a discourager, and that at a critical time. The court-martial judged it a crime to speak disheartening words in an hour like that.
53. “My talent is to speak my mind,” said a woman to John Wesley.
To which Wesley answered, “I am sure, sister, that God wouldn’t object if you buried that talent.”
54. Slander has a marvellous way of driving us into the arms of our Heavenly Father.
55. How lamentable is the way we praise the dead saints & persecute the living ones!
56. Advice is like castor oil. It is easy enough to give, but dreadfully uneasy to take.
57. A good thing to remember, & a better thing to do; is to work with the construction gang & not the wrecking crew.
58. In a small village in which there was only one church that almost every member of the community attended, one woman made life difficult, often, by her constant prying into the affairs of her neighbors. One day when the rector of the church was trying to show the woman the harm she was doing, she said: “Oh well, just prying into my neighbors affairs isn’t as bad as what Mrs. So-and-so does. She gets drunk.”
“Madam,” replied the rector, “your sin is classed with murder, and with stealing, in God’s Word.” (Mt.15:19)
59. Several years ago a Santa Fe train was speeding through Oklahoma. In one of the coaches sat a young woman desperately trying to take care of a restless baby, whose crying was evidently annoying some of the passengers.
Across the aisle sat a stout fellow, a picture of comfort and rich living. He glowered over at the woman and shouted: “Can’t you keep that child quiet?” On taking a further look at the young lady, he noticed that her dress was one of mourning.
Then he heard her say gently: “I cannot help it. The child is not mine. I am doing my best.”
“Where is its mother?” asked the portly passenger.
“In her coffin, sir,” answered the young lady, “in the baggage car up ahead.”
The steely eyes of the fat fellow filled with tears. He got up, took the babe in his arms, kissed it, and then walked up and down the aisle with the child, trying his best to soothe the motherless little one and make up for his harshness.
60. It is said that a minister dreamed he was hitched to a covered wagon, and was laboriously, but slowly, pulling it along, until he reached a place in the road where the mud seemed to get deeper, and it was with much difficulty that he moved the wagon a few inches at a time.
He thought it rather peculiar, as the last time he looked back he thought he saw the entire congregation pushing. But the longer and harder he pulled, the more difficult it became to move the wagon.
Finally, almost exhausted, he went to the rear to examine the source of the trouble. All the church members had quit pushing. Not only had they quit pushing but they were sitting in the wagon and were criticizing the pastor for not pulling the church along faster.
Was it really a dream?
61. No one should judge another person by what that person’s enemies say about him.
62. After a man makes his mark in the World, a lot of people will come around with an eraser.
63. Instead of letting their light shine, some people spend their time trying to put out the lights of others.
64. Don’t mind the fellow who belittles you; he’s only trying to cut you down to his size.
65. The typographical error
Is a slippery thing and sly
You can hunt till you are dizzy,
But it somehow will get by.
Till the forms are off the presses,
It is strange how still it keeps
It shrinks down into a corner
And it never stirs or peeps,
That typographical error,
Too small for human eyes!
Till the ink is on the paper
When it grows to mountain size,
The boss he stares with horror,
Then he grabs his hair and groans.
The copy reader drops his head
Upon his hands and moans–
The remainder of the issues
May be clean as clean can be,
But that typographical error
Is the only thing you see.
66. As an old minister, five years in my first pastorate and forty-one in the second, I would pass on an encouraging hint to younger brethren. I left my first pastorate scared away by criticism, afterwards to learn the noise had all been made by one man. One man in a church, community, or organization, may by loud and persistent effort create the impression that matters are all wrong and that everybody is demanding a remedy; which puts me in mind of the old story about the “frog farm.”
A farmer advertised a “frog farm” for sale, claiming that he had a pond that was thoroughly stocked with fine bullfrogs.
A prospective buyer appeared and was taken late one warm evening to the pond that he might hear the frogs. The “music” made so favorable an impression on the buyer that the sale was made.
Soon afterward the purchaser proceeded to drain the pond in order to catch and market the frogs. To his surprise, when the water was drained out of the pond, he found that all the noise had been made by one old bullfrog.
67. Said a fault-finding minister to Bishop Ryle as they sat in one of Moody’s meetings in England, “Do you hear that young Yankee smashing the Queen’s English?”
Replied Bishop Ryle, “Yes, but do you see him breaking sinners’ hearts in the gallery?”
68. A critic is one who points out how imperfectly other people do what the critic does not do at all.
69. The trouble with most Christians today is that they would rather be on the judgement seat than on the witness stand.
70. Rumour is the most buoyant thing there is. It is easy to float one & hard to sink it.
71. Rumour is like a check: Don’t endorse it until you’re sure it’s genuine.
72. When over the fair fame of friend or foe
The shadow of disgrace shall fall; instead
Of words of blame, or proof of so and so,
Let something good be said.
Forget not that no fellow-being yet
May fall so low but love may lift his head;
Even the cheek of shame with tears is wet,
If something good be said.
No generous heart may vainly turn aside
In ways of sympathy; no soul so dead
But may awaken strong and glorified,
If something good be said.
And so I charge ye, by the thorny crown,
And by the cross on which the Saviour bled,
And by your own soul’s hope for fair renown,
Let something good be said.
–James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916)
73. When Matthew C. Brush was president of the American International Corporation at 40 Wall Street, I asked him if he was ever sensitive to criticism, & he replied, “Yes, I was very sensitive to it in my early days. I was eager then to have all the employees in the organisation think I was perfect. If they didn’t, it worried me. I would try to please first one person who had been sounding off against me; but the very thing I did to patch it up with him would make someone else mad. Then when I tried to fix it up with this person, I would stir up a couple of other bumblebees. I finally discovered that the more I tried to pacify & to smooth over injured feelings in order to escape personal criticism, the more certain I was to increase my enemies. So finally I said to myself, “If you get your head above the crowd, you’re going to be criticised. So get used to the idea.” That helped me tremendously. From that time on I made it a rule to do the very best I could & then put up my old umbrella & let the rain of criticism drain off me instead of run down my neck.”
74. Aesop has a fable of three bulls that fed in a field together in the greatest peace and safety. A lion had long watched them in the hope of making prey of them, but found little chance so long as they kept together. He therefore began secretly to spread evil and slanderous reports of one against another till he fomented jealousy and distrust among them. Soon they began to avoid each other and each took to feeding alone. This gave the lion the opportunity it had been wanting. He fell on them singly and made an easy prey of them all.
It is true of God’s people that–“united, they stand; divided, they fall.” (Ps.133.1; 1Cor.1.10)
75. “The boneless tongue, so small and weak,
Can crush and kill,” declares the Greek.
“The tongue destroys a greater horde,”
The Turk asserts, “than does the sword.”
A Persian proverb wisely saith,
“A lengthy tongue–an early death.”
Or sometimes takes this form instead,
“Don’t let your tongue cut off your head.”
“The tongue can speak a word whose speed,”
The Chinese say, “outstrips the steed.”
While Arab sages this impart,
“The tongue”s great storehouse is the heart.”
From Hebrew writ this maxim sprung,
“Though feet should slip, ne”er let the tongue.”
The sacred writer crowns the whole:
“Who keeps his tongue doth keep his soul!”
76. One Sunday morning, just before service, a note was handed to the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher. The famous clergyman discovered that it contained a single word: “fool.”
Mr. Beecher arose, described the communication to his congregation, and added, “I have known many an instance of a man writing a letter and forgetting to sign his name, but this is the first case I have ever known of a man signing his name and forgetting to write the letter.”
77. An evangelist, when someone approached him with a story about a sister, said to the gossip, “Before you say anything about that person, I should like to ask you three questions:
“First, will it do me any good if you tell me your story?
“Second, will it do you any good to tell it?
“Third, will it do the sister about whom you have come to tell me any good?”
Needless to say, the slander was never uttered.
(2Thess.3:11; 1Tim.5:13; 1Pet.4:15)
78. It is well to remember that mansions in the sky cannot be built out of the mud thrown at others.
79. Stones and sticks are thrown only at fruit-bearing trees.
80. To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing!
81. When I start to find fault with all that I see, it is time to start looking for what’s wrong with me.
82. We should cover the faults of our fellow-workers with a cloak of charity, because we may need a circus tent to cover our own.
83. Beware of a half-truth–you may have gotten the wrong half.
84. If you must throw cold water on everything, then get a job as a fireman.
85. One of the easiest things to find is fault.
86. The person who is always finding fault seldom finds anything else.
87. When you deplore the condition of the World, ask yourself, “Am I part of the problem or part of the solution?”
88. If faultfinding were electrified, some people would be a powerhouse.
89. Faultfinding is as dangerous as it is easy.
90. The way some people find fault you’d think there was a reward.
91. Faultfinding without suggestions for improvement is a waste of time.
92. Faultfinding is one talent that ought to be buried, & the grave forgotten.
93. We do not get rid of our faults by calling attention to the faults of others.
94. It’s a pity that some folks never learn that uncovering the other fellow’s faults will never cover up their own.
95. One of the surest marks of good character is a man’s ability to accept personal criticism without feeling malice toward the one who gives it.
96. Adverse criticism from a wise man is more to be desired than the enthusiastic approval of a fool.
97. Criticism is like dynamite. It has its place, but should be handled only by experts!–Constructively.
98. Criticism should always leave a person with the feeling he has been helped.
99. Never fear criticism when you’re right; never ignore criticism when you’re wrong.
100. Criticising an egg is a lot easier than laying one.
101. You can always tell a failure by the way he criticises success.
102. Throwing mud at another man only soils your own hands.
103. You’ll never move up if you’re continually running somebody down.
104. The difference between coaching & criticism is your attitude.
105. Small minds are the first to criticise large ideas.
106. It takes a big man to sympathise–a little man can criticise, & usually does.
107. When the other fellow finds a flaw in almost everything, he’s cranky; when you do, you’re discriminating.
108. Many people have the mistaken idea that they can make themselves great by showing how small someone else is.
109. The critical tongue gets its orders from an untrained eye, an unthoughtful mind, & an ungrateful heart.
110. There’s only one way to handle the ignorant or malicious critic. Ignore him.
111. The critic who begins with himself will be too busy to take on outside contracts.
112. I will speak ill of no man, not even in a matter of truth, but rather excuse the fault I hear, &, upon proper occasions, speak all the good I know of everybody.–Benjamin Franklin
113. Gossip is like a balloon–it grows bigger with every puff.
114. Gossip is when someone gets wind of something & treats it like a cyclone.
115. It isn’t difficult to make a mountain out of a molehill–just add a little dirt.
116. Let’s keep our mouths shut & our pens dry until we know the facts.
117. There is nothing as effective as a bunch of facts to spoil a good rumour.
118. There are no idle rumours. They are all busy.
119. Whenever we fan the flames of a rumour, we’re likely to get burned ourselves.
120. Don’t mind criticism. If it’s untrue, disregard it; if it’s unfair, keep from irritation; if it’s ignorant, smile; if it’s justified, learn from it.
121. If your head sticks up above the crowd, expect more criticism than bouquets.
122. One of the hardest things to take is one of the easiest things to give–criticism.
123. If you are afraid of criticism, you’ll die doing nothing.
124. It is better to be criticised than to be ignored.
125. Criticism wouldn’t be so hard to take if it weren’t so often right.
126. You don’t have time to criticise when you harmonise, sympathise & evangelise.
127. Nobody can make a fool out of another person if he isn’t the right kind of material for the job.
128. In a vision John Bunyan saw a man throwing water on a flame, & yet the flame continued to burn. He wondered how it could burn on–until he saw that there was one behind the door pouring oil on the flame!
129. The people who like to think negatively will cling to their conviction in the face of the most obvious contradiction. The story is told that when Robert Fulton gave the first public demonstration of a steamboat, one of the “impossible” fellows stood in the crowd along the shore shouting, “He can’t start it!” Suddenly there was a belch of steam & the boat began to move forward slowly. Startled, the man stared for a moment & then began to yell, “He can’t stop’r!”
130. A lady came to the judge because she wanted to divorce her husband. There were many little things in their relationship which she thought good enough reasons to break up their marriage, so when the judge asked, “Well, what is wrong?” the lady answered, “Oh, he doesn’t hang up his clothes & he sometimes sits at the table without having washed his hands … ,” & on & on & on & on. But when the judge asked her, “Well, is he a good father to the children & does he provide well?” She only could answer those important questions positively, so the judge suggested that she go home & in the following 30 days to really think of the good things & see the good things in her husband. And then afterwards if she still thought she wanted to be divorced, she should come back again. But the judge never saw her again!–What a wise judge! It’s so often the little thins which break up relationships, so let’s think of those things which are of good report!
131. One elderly lady in my Pennsylvania pastorate called at the parsonage in the role of a self-appointed informant. Before I could check her, she had laid low a member of the church. Before she could say more, I said, “Wouldn’t it be Christian charity to have the individual, of whom you have spoken so ill, present to answer for himself any further accusations you may make against him?” Then I started toward the phone as if I was going to call the man. “Oh,” she pleaded, “please don’t! I confess that I have been sinful & un-Christian in my attitude toward that person. Do pray that God will cleanse my heart of this sin. It has rendered me powerless, joyless & has made me largely unusable in God’s service.”
132. There is so much good in the worst of us,
And so much bad in the best of us,
That it hardly behooves any of us
To talk about the rest of us.
133. He criticized her pudding,
He didn’t like her cake,
He wished that she’d make biscuits
Like Mother used to make.
She didn’t wash the dishes,
She didn’t make a stew,
And she didn’t darn his socks
Like Mother used to do.
So when one day he went the
Same ole rigmarole through,
She turned & boxed his ears,
Just like Mother used to do.
134. If we are tempted to be worried about unjust criticism, here is a vital rule:
Remember that unjust criticism is often a disguised compliment. Remember that no one ever kicks a dead dog.
135. When you get to know a fellow, know his joy & know his cares,
When you’ve come to understand him & the burdens that he bears,
When you’ve learned the fight he’s making & the troubles in his way,
Then you find that he is different than you thought him yesterday.
You find his faults are trivial & there’s not so much to blame
In the brother that you jeered at when you only knew his name.
You are quick to see the blemish in the distant neighbour’s style,
You can point to all his errors & may sneer at him the while,
And your prejudices fatten & your hates more violent grow
As you talk about the failures of the man you do not know,
But when drawn a little closer, & your hands & shoulders touch,
You find the traits you hated really don’t amount to much.
When you get to know a fellow, know his every mood & whim,
You begin to find the texture of the splendid side of him;
You begin to understand him, & you cease to scoff & sneer,
For with understanding prejudices always disappear.
You begin to find his virtues & his faults you cease to tell,
For you seldom hate a fellow when you know him very well.
When next you start in sneering & your phrases turn to blame,
Know more of him you censure than his business & his name;
For it’s likely that acquaintance would your prejudice dispel
And you’d really come to like him if you knew him very well.
When you get to know a fellow & you understand his ways,
Then his faults won’t really matter, for you’ll find a lot to praise.
136. In the mountains of Mexico lived a man called Pablo. Pablo’s family was very poor & simple & they had to work hard on their small farm to make a living. Over many long months they had saved their money to buy a donkey which would be able to pull their plow & carry heavy loads. At last they had enough money, & he & his son Juan walked the long, dusty road to town. There they bought a sturdy little donkey in the marketplace & soon they were leading it through the town on the road back home.
“Can I ride the donkey, please?” Juan asked.
“Of course!” his father answered, lifting him up onto the donkey’s back. “In fact, a good donkey should be able to carry me too!” he said, climbing onto the donkey’s back with Juan. They had not gone far when an old man indignantly muttered, “How terribly cruel you are to that poor little donkey, making it carry both of you!” Juan’s father was hurt & embarrassed & got off the donkey & led it along with Juan riding on it.
It was not long before a stern-looking woman sharply chided, “Oh, look how cruel that boy is to let his poor old father walk!”
Now Juan felt bad. He got down from the donkey & began walking & his father got back on the beast’s back. They hadn’t gone 50 paces before someone from the crowd called out, “Senor! How cruel you are to make your tired little boy walk while you ride!” Embarrassed, Juan’s father got off & they both walked, looking dejectedly at the ground as they led their donkey out of the village! A few minutes later they passed a group of men who began laughing at them; one of them said sarcasticly, “Look how ridiculous they are! They’ve got a donkey, but they’re both walking!” Another called out to Juan’s father tauntingly, “Why don’t you do the donkey a favour then & carry him?”
Juan’s father was now angry. “What a good idea!” he said to the men. “It seems that some people will criticize & complain, no matter what you do to try to please them! So I might just as well learn how to carry my donkey too, if I am going to live my life by the opinions of others!” And with that, he tied the donkey’s legs to a pole, & he & Juan carried the donkey the last way out of town with the townspeople looking on astonished. Then they set the donkey down, untied it, & had a good laugh at the people of the town who were all staring at them. Never again would they let the criticism of opinionated people tell them what to do!
137. If you are tempted to reveal
A tale to you someone has told
About another, make it pass,
Before you speak, three gates of gold.
These narrow gates: First, “Is it true?”
Then, “Is it needful?” In your mind
Give truthful answer. And the next
Is last and narrowest, “Is it kind?”
And if to reach your lips at last
It passes through these gateways three,
Then you may tell the tale, nor fear
What the result of speech may be.
138. The merchant Guyot lived and died in the town of Marseilles in France. He amassed a large fortune by the most laborious industry and by habits of the severest abstinence and privation. His neighbors considered him a miser and thought he was hoarding up money from mean and avaricious motives. The populace, whenever he appeared, pursued him with hootings and execrations, and the boys sometimes threw stones at him. At length he died and in his will were found the following words: “Having observed from my infancy that the poor of Marseilles are badly supplied with water which they can only purchase at a high price, I have cheerfully labored the whole of my life to procure for them this great blessing, and I direct that the whole of my property be laid out in building an aqueduct for their use.”
139. Our spiritual enemy is always looking for a weakness, a way to enter our defenses, & is casting fiery darts into the city of our fellowship trying to sow dissension, jealousy, covetousness, bickering, selfishness, & internal discord so we’ll get so busy fighting amongst ourselves we won’t even notice that our walls of spiritual strength are crumbling from neglect & smouldering with sin, giving a place for the Enemy to enter in & destroy us & God’s Work.
140. A critical spirit comes from self-righteousness! If you know you’re a mess yourself, you don’t go around criticising other people for their mistakes, but if you think you’re so righteous, that’s when you start picking on other people.
141. Criticism isn’t the problem, it’s just a symptom.–A lack of Love is the problem!
142. Never start criticising & being so picky over some details, that you miss the whole point of what’s being brought out & the whole conclusion!
143. It is possible to learn from an enemy things we can’t learn from a friend.
144. The difference between our friends & our enemies is this: Our friends love us in spite of our faults, & our enemies hate us in spite of our virtues.
145. A smile in giving honest criticism can make the difference between resentment and reform.
146. I do the best I know how, the very best I can; & I mean to keep on doing it to the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me will not amount to anything. If the end brings me out all wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.–Abraham Lincoln