Criticism Sermon Illustrations

Criticism Sermon Illustrations

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If you are criticized, you have either done something worthwhile, or refrained from doing something foolish. So congratulations!

Criticism is the one thing most of us think is more blessed to give than to receive.—Society of Automotive Engineers Journal

Correcting faults is like tying a necktie; we can do it easier on ourselves than on anybody else.—NCR Factory News

There are persons who constantly clamor. They complain of oppression, speculation, and pernicious influence of accumulated wealth. They cry out loudly against all banks and corporations and all means by which small capitalists become united in order to produce important and beneficial results. They carry on mad hostility against all established institutions. They would choke the fountain of industry and dry all streams. In a country of unbounded liberty, they clamor against oppression. In a country where property is more evenly divided than anywhere else, they rend the air shouting agrarian doctrines. In a country where wages of labor are high beyond parallel, they would teach the laborer he is but an oppressed slave. Sir, what can such men want? What do they mean? They mean nothing, Sir, but to enjoy the fruits of another man's labor.—From a speech by Daniel Webster in the U. S. Senate

I still firmly believe that criticism of the schools is a fine thing. In the first place, criticism is a hair shirt. It makes us scratch, keeps us from relaxing too comfortably on our laurels. Historian Arnold Toynbee's story of the North Sea fishermen illustrates the kind of thing I mean. Finding that too much of their catch was decaying before the ship could return to port, the fishermen installed sea water tanks to keep the fish alive; but that only substituted a new problem because, although now none of the catch perished, life was so easy for the fish that they became flabby, oily, and unpalatable. Then, the fishermen put into the tanks a few voracious cannibal fish and that paid off. True, some of the catch was eaten by the cannibals but the survivors became vigorous, healthy and very palatable. The critics are our cannibal fish.—Earl Hansen, Superintendent of Schools, Rock Island, Illinois, "Don't Stop Criticizing Us Teachers," Saturday Evening Post

"The stones that critics hurl with harsh intent
A man may use to build his monument."—Arthur Gutterman

Heat hardens clay, but melts wax. It tempers steel but softens lead. The hot sun ripens fruit and grain, but withers and blasts the cut flowers and tender plants. Wintry blasts work havoc with summer annuals, but toughen the fiber of the mighty oaks. The difference in results is not with the external agent but with the inherent qualities of the receiving object.

Every person who attempts to do anything worthwhile has to learn to take criticism, constructive or otherwise. Often those who accomplish most in the long run come in for the most criticism.

Someone has made the observation that, when we point the finger of criticism at anyone, the three fingers that are bent are pointing to ourselves, and the thumb is pointing upward to God in Heaven. So, by criticizing another, and pointing the finger to find fault with another, we lay ourselves open to three times as much criticism of ourselves, and also point the finger of accusation at God. (Matt. 7. 1-3)

Disappointed—or Surprised?

It was a beautiful prayer and I thought, "What a good kind of man you must be." But about an hour later I happened to be coming along the farm and I heard a scolding and finding fault with everybody and everything. I didn't say nothin' for a minute or two. And then I says, "You must be very much disappointed, sir." "How so, Daniel, `disappointed'?" "I thought you were expecting to receive a very valuable present this morning, sir, and I see it hasn't come." "Present, Daniel?" And he scratched his head as much as to say, "Whatever can the man be talking about?" "You know, this morning you prayed for a Christ-like spirit and the mind that was in Jesus, and the love of God shed abroad in your heart." "Oh! that's what you mean, is it?" And he spoke as if that weren't anything at all. "Now, sir, wouldn't you rather be surprised if your prayer were to be answered?" "He didn't like it very much," said Daniel, "but I delivered my testimony, and learned a lesson for myself, too."—Sunday School Times.

Barking Doesn't Disturb the Moon

A judge who was on circuit at a certain town was always sure of being annoyed by some sneering remarks from a conceited lawyer. After one such occasion, someone asked the judge at dinner, why he didn't come down strong on the fellow. The judge dropped his knife and fork, placed his chin on his hands, and his elbows on the table as he gave emphasis to his story: "Up in our town," he said, "there lives a widow who has a dog which, whenever the moon shines, goes out and barks and barks at it all night." Stopping short he quietly began eating again. One of the company asked, "Well, Judge, what about the dog and the moon?" "Oh, the moon kept on shining," he said. Sunday School Chronicle.

We live in a day where—in some seminaries and colleges and educational institutions that bear deceitfully the name of "Christian"—some professors are theological anatomists wielding dissecting knives that cut at the Bible's milk veins. Some teachers are inexorable censors who sit now, like Jehoiakim of old before the fireplace in the summer house, Bible on knee, penknife in hand, calmly and with critical delight, mutilating the only reliable franchise of our Christian hopes. Sinful snipers they who aim their ill-grounded propositions against the Scriptures. They show their kinship to Diocletion who tried to exterminate the Bible in the thirtieth century, to Celsus who tried to undermine its message, to astute Prophecy who hurled his venomous shafts at it, to Hume who wielded cogent weapons against it, to Voltaire who flung arrows tipped with fire at it, to Ingersol who spat infidelic sputum in its lovely face, to Tom Paine who tried to drown it in infidelic ink.

The Gospel Witness (June 8, 1961) gives this characterization of these Bible critics in pulpits and those sinful, sometimes senseless, snipers at the Word of God:

"They be knaves with pulpit robes reluctantly thrown over their thievish breasts—clever liars, swindlers who look too innocent to be quite guiltless, hirelings who hunger for the pelf. They are killers of men, bandits who thrust weapons into souls and slap the young, the unsuspecting and the frank. I could respect, in some grim way, the vulgar infidel who blasphemes openly and on purpose, and rejoices in his pitiful bellowing, mistaking the very blatancy for courage; but the man in the pulpit who insults the Bible on which he lives, and wriggles out of the professions by which he climbed to the pulpit he dishonors, I charge with worse crimes than those which blackened Barabbas or damned Iscariot."

These Bible critics who summon the Bible to appear at the bar of human reason, under the guise of "scholastic revelation" remind me of a rill setting in judgment on volume of a river, of a candle summoning the sun to appear for judgment for not being bright enough, of a stagnant pond summoning an ocean to judgment for being too shallow.

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