Sermon quotes on criticism

Basil of Caesarea

So long then as the word of truth is on our side, never be in any wise distressed at the calumny of a lie; let no imperial threats scare you; do not be grieved at the laughter and mockery of your intimates nor at the condemnation of those who pretend to care for you, and who put forward, as their most attractive bait to deceive, a pretense of giving good advice. Against them all let sound reason do battle, invoking the championship and succor of our Lord Jesus Christ, the teacher of true religion, for whom to suffer is sweet and to die is gain.

Leonard Bernstein

I’ve been all over the world and I’ve never seen a statue of a critic.


Jerry Bridges

One of the most difficult defilements of the spirit to deal with is the critical spirit. A critical spirit has its root in pride. Because of the ‘plank’ of pride in our own eye, we are not capable of dealing with the ‘speck’ of need in someone else. We are often like the Pharisee who, completely unconscious of his own need, prayed “God, I thank you that I am not like other men” (Luke 18:11). We are quick to see – and to speak of – the faults of others, but slow to see our own needs. How sweetly we relish the opportunity to speak critically of someone else – even when we are unsure of the facts. We forget that “A man who stirs up dissension among brothers” by criticising one to another is one of the “six things which the Lord hates” (Proverbs 6:16-19)

The Pursuit of Holiness, NavPress.


Brene Brown

To me, constructive criticism is when people take ownership of their ideas. That’s why I don’t listen to anything that’s anonymous. But it’s hard; when there’s something hurtful out there, I still want to read it over and over and memorize it and explain my point of view to the person.

 Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Jean De La Bruyere

The pleasure of criticizing takes away from us the pleasure of being moved by some very fine things.

Dale Carnegie

Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.”

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Gary Chapman

People tend to criticize their spouse most loudly in the area where they themselves have the deepest emotional need.”

The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate

Winston Churchill

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.

New Statesman interview, 7 January 1939

Winston Churchill

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.

Marcus Tullius Cicero

I criticize by creation, not by finding fault.

W.E.B. Du Bois

Honest and earnest criticism from those whose interests are most nearly touched,- criticism of writers by readers, of government by those governed, of leaders by those led, – this is the soul of democracy and the safeguard of modern society.

The Souls of Black Folk, Bantam Classics.

Bob Dylan

Don’t criticize what you can’t understand.

Francis Frangipane

No one ever grew spiritually by focusing on the flaws in someone else.

Jim Gaffigan

Why would a lazy guy become a parent of five? Then again, why would creative people who inherently don’t like change and criticism become writers, actors, or comedians? There’s something about this process. I joke about it: My kids have made me a better person, and I only need, like, 34 more of them to be a really good guy.

Christopher Hampton

Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamp post how it feels about dogs.

Jack Handey

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.

Elbert Hubbard

The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure criticism without resentment.

Elbert Hubbard

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.

Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great Vol. 3: American Statesmen

Helen Keller

I do not mean to object to a thorough knowledge of the famous works we read. I object only to the interminable comments and bewildering criticisms that teach but one thing: there are as many opinions as there are men.”

The Story of My Life

Phillip Keller

Human beings, being what they are, somehow feel entitled to question the reasons for everything that happens to them.  In many instances life itself becomes a continual criticism and dissection of one’s circumstances and acquaintances. We look for someone or something on which to pin the blame for our misfortunes. We are often quick to forget our blessings, slow to forget our misfortunes.

A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, Zondervan, 1970, p. 70.

Timothy & Kathy Keller

If someone is criticizing you and the criticism is mostly mistaken, identify the 20 percent of the indictment that is fair. Without excuse be willing to take it to heart. The strongest Christians are the ones most willing to repent.

The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms

Timothy Keller

The self-forgetful person would never be hurt particularly badly by criticism. It would not devastate them, it would not keep them up late, it would not bother them. Why? Because a person who is devastated by criticism is putting too much value on what other people think, on other people’s opinions.   

The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, 10 Publishing, 2017, p. 33.

Johannes Kepler

I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.

C.S. Lewis

The first demand any work of art makes upon us is surrender. Look. Listen. Receive. Get yourself out of the way. (There is no good asking first whether the work before you deserves such a surrender, for until you have surrendered you cannot possibly find out.)

An Experiment in Criticism, Canto Classics.

D.L. Moody

You may find hundreds of faultfinders among professed Christians; but all their criticism will not lead one solitary soul to Christ.

Watchman Nee

Many times men criticize us when we actually are following the Lord. Outside praise or criticism is inconsequential; but the testimony of our quickened conscience is momentous.

Luc Niebergall

No one is mandated by God to be a heresy hunter. When we are walking in judgement and a critical spirit, we can stumble into an unhealthy infatuation with looking for the enemy, instead of seeking the Lord.

David Ogilvy

Don’t hire a dog, then bark yourself.

Chuck Palahniuk

It’s easy to attack and destroy an act of creation. It’s a lot more difficult to perform one.

Blaise Pascal

Cold words freeze people, and hot words scorch them, and bitter words make them bitter, and wrathful words make them wrathful.

Norman Vincent Peale

The trouble with most of us is that we’d rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.

William Penn

They have a Right to censure, that have a Heart to help: The rest is Cruelty, not Justice.

Charles Schwab

I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.

C.H. Spurgeon

Public men must expect public criticism, and as the public cannot be regarded as infallible, public men may expect to be criticized in a way which is neither fair nor pleasant. To all honest and just remarks we are bound to give due measure of heed, but to the bitter verdict of prejudice, the frivolous faultfinding of men of fashion, the stupid utterances of the ignorant, and the fierce denunciations of opponents, we may very safely turn a deaf ear. 

The Blind Eye and the Deaf Ear.

Alexander Strauch

What Jesus prohibits…is sinful, improper judging. It is the hypocrisy of condemning others but failing to see one’s own glaring sins. Jesus forbids self-righteous criticism, a hypercritical spirit, and a harsh, fault-finding mindset.

Leading With Love, Lewis and Roth, 2006, p. 158.

Jonathan Swift

That was excellently observed’, say I, when I read a passage in an author, where his opinion agrees with mine. When we differ, there I pronounce him to be mistaken.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Once in a golden hour

I cast to earth a seed.

Up there came a flower,

The people said, a weed.”

The Complete Works of Alfred Tennyson, Andedite Press.

Jon Tyson

You don’t have to criticize others leadership and methodologies for your own convictions and story to be valid. Run your race, let others run theirs…

Twitter Post, August 7, 2018.

Andy Warhol

Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches.

Rick Warren

Since God intends to make you like Jesus, he will take you through the same experiences Jesus went through. That includes loneliness, temptation, stress, criticism, rejection, and many other problems.

The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?”, Zondervan, p.179.

Warren Wiersbe

The way we respond to criticism pretty much depends on the way we respond to praise. If praise humbles us, then criticism will build us up. But if praise inflates us, then criticism will crush us; and both responses lead to our defeat.

John Wooden

A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.

Jonathan Edwards

I make it my rule, to lay hold of light and embrace it, wherever I see it, though held forth by a child or an enemy 

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