“Relational Vampires: Critical People”

Week 2: How Do I Love a Critical Person?
 
How do I love a critical person?
Reality Check: You will be criticized!
 
How can we respond to critical people?
Often we don’t respond. Sometimes, we respond carefully. Occasionally, we listen and make a change. Always work to guard your heart.
Bottom Line: I’m compassionate with others when I’m confident in Christ.
 
Further Conversation
1. What is the most ridiculous criticism you’ve ever received?
2. Think about some of the most critical people you know. What do you think is the root cause of their critical spirit?
3. Read 2 Peter 2:23 What is your take-away from this Scripture?
4. Of the ways listed to respond to critical people, what is your typical response? Which do you avoid? Why do you think this is?
5. Which do you struggle with more…being overly critical or being overly sensitive to criticism. How do you think this came about?
6. How has criticism stood in the way of God’s love and healing in your life? What is God’s truth about you that can replace these critical words?
7. Read Proverbs 12:18 What are the most common reasons you look down on others or cut them down? What will you do to bring healing instead? How can Christ Church help you take this step?
 
Daily Devotions: Go Deeper this Week
 
Monday – John 13:34-35
Love like Jesus loved? That can seem impossible with critical people. Critical people rip us apart with their words. They steal our worth and dignity. How can I possibly love someone like that? We have to remember how Jesus loves us. Beaten and berated, he didn’t seek revenge. He possessed an inner confidence they could not destroy. He showed compassion to his attackers (without condoning their attack). When we are open to Jesus’ love, we gain a confidence that comes from believing we are who Jesus says we are. We are loved. We are valuable. We matter to God. Confidence creates compassion. We can love others because we are loved! Who is difficult to love? How can you trust in and show Jesus’ love?
Pray: LORD Jesus, help me have great confidence in your love for me. May it build a compassion in me that I am quick to share.
 
Tuesday – Proverbs 19:11
Love has a way of overlooking other people’s faults. Some parents believe their kids can do no wrong. Are they intentionally delusional? No, they just really love and think the very best of their kids. Great marriages are built on this same principle. We overlook wrongs by wearing love tinted glasses. Love doesn’t mean we condone wrong. It means we can forgive quickly and see the best of intentions. We hope for the best. Critical people miss this part of love. Maybe there is a critical person in your life who needs an extended reminder of love’s ability to overlook wrongs. Who can you love today? How can you trust Jesus and show compassion today?
Pray: Good Shepherd, when others seek to harm me, may I trust in your protection. Help me see the good and love others.
 
Wednesday – 1 Peter 2:23
At one time I was so quick to defend myself. When someone criticized me, my guard instantly rose and I would forcibly present my case as to why they were mistaken. I argued. I excused. Or if all else failed, I blamed or destroyed. I couldn’t handle someone saying I was wrong. It made me feel worthless. But over time, as I grew to know Jesus and gain confidence in Christ’s love for me, my ability to not respond in fear grew. I can love and overlook because I am loved. Jesus fills me in such a way that criticism can’t rob me. Christ confidence gives me the freedom to be compassionate. Are you quick to defend yourself or show Christ’s love to others?
Pray: Almighty God, you were so quick to love and forgive me even when I least deserved it. Help me to show others that same love.
 
Thursday – Proverbs 15:31-32
Let’s be honest, accountability is never a comfortable process. We try hard to present our best selves to the world. It stings when a weakness is pointed out or a failure identified. Yet, if we can get past the sting, we will be better off for the correction. I remember receiving my immunization shots as a child. Oh how I hated the needles. At one point it took four nurses to hold me down as a doctor administered the shot. The momentary pain frightened me. But what if I had contracted the measles, or worse. So it is with constructive criticism. Though it may sting to hear the critique, we are given the opportunity to better ourselves. Do you run from criticism? Do you quickly defend yourself against it? Or do you have an open heart for it? Who do you need to listen to today?
Pray: Heavenly Father, please help me gain the confidence in you to allow others to speak truth into me.
 
Friday – Proverbs 12:18
Consider this truth: Hurt people hurt people. Overly critical people, who quickly cut down others with their words, often possess a painful story. When we are in pain, we lash out. Unforgiven or unhealed hurt creates a heighten fear of vulnerability. Hurt people hurt others to protect themselves. But who is it that often speaks the kindest and wisest words to us? Is it not those persons who have experienced great pain, but have found healing? Healed people bring healing to people. Where are you good at sharing healing through wise words? Praise God for your healing. In what ways are you showing hurt through your cutting words? Seek Christ’s love and reconciliation. Allow yourself to hear wise words of truth and love…so that you might share your healing with others.
Pray: LORD Jesus, thank you that you are quick to offer healing to all those who seek you and trust you.
 
Saturday – Romans 14:10-13 & 15:1-7
Sadly, the church has been a critical voice to many. Sometimes the deepest wounds comes from friendly fire. We hurt and condemn our brothers and sisters in Christ. We play judge instead of doctor. A judge determines guilt. A doctor diagnoses and offers a path to healing. May we lean into the healing of Jesus and grow in our confidence of his love. Then we can be ready to bear one another burdens and share the healing we have found. May our church become a place for healing and hope to a hurting world.
Pray: Loving God, may we find our confidence in your love and grace so that we can offer healing and hope to a hurting world.