Relationship Leeches - Part 1 - Dealing with Critical People

 We all have difficult people we are called to love. How are we to deal with critical people in our lives, who can be like leeches and suck the life out of us?


[Music] we all have people in our lives that we are called to love that as we said last week are really really difficult to love if you guys remember we said that God's command to us is love the great command is love the Lord your God with all your heart mind soul and strength and love your neighbor as yourself so we're not just called to love like nice easy people but difficult people as well and we we started last week by talking about controlling people right last week we said that there are people that try to control our lives and we spoke specifically about how Peter was trying to control Christ and what Christ was to do and what what the Father's will for for Jesus was next week we're gonna be talking about needy people people that it's never enough no matter how much you give and then the final week we're gonna wrap up with hypocritical people and the question is do we have a role if anything at all in in their lives but today we're gonna be speaking about how to deal with critical people ok critical people this series is called relationship leaches and we said what is that what is the Leech do to you it sucks your blood it sucks the life out of you ok if you remember we said that a leech leech first of all when it when it gets on to you it releases some form of anesthetic so that when it bites you it doesn't hurt you don't feel it okay and then it takes its like suction its teeth and it's mucus and it holds on for dear life and then finally it releases some enzyme that allows for the blood to continually flow through you and it continues to do so yeah I know it's so gross but this is exactly what relationship leeches do initially they grab on and it feels painless right it doesn't feel like it's actually kind of feels like a little bit of a tickle up first kind of like a leech when it first takes hold of you at first you don't realize what's happening okay so at first it feels painless and what these relationship leeches tend to do is they hold on for dear life.they and then they suck the life out of you and they continue to suck and suck and just take because that's what they do something that unfortunately all of us will face at some point in our lives is critical people critical people how many of you in your life you have someone in your life that they have this spiritual gift of fault-finding like they are gifted it looks like they're gifted by God they can find a fault in something if there's anything at all it could be like 99.9% but they will find the point one percent that is wrong in this city whatever the situation is okay each of us has someone in our lives who are gifted at finding faults if you've ever been in church and the person sitting next to you leaned over to you and whispered three things in your ear that was wrong with the church okay that person like first time in the church and they will find number of things that are problematic with this church okay you'll meet someone you and automatically you're starting to think about all of the negatives in this person critical people critical people some various criticisms that you probably deal with on a daily basis you may have a boss a boss who micromanages and the only feedback they give you is something wrong you've done everything wonderfully wonderfully you're like you should be promoted last week but they will always find the one little thing to say wrong to you their only feedback is negative feedback as adults sometimes our parents will still continue to even criticize us this is not just as parents that sometimes kids might be saying like my parents are critical well sometimes as adults our parents still continue to criticize what we do we're not raising our kids well enough we're not in the right type of job that we should be in we're not eating the right way we're not spending our money the right way we're going to that church that is Coptic Church that s a church like they will find anything to be critical I guess I hear it all I hear it all okay you might have a spouse so it's constantly criticizing your weights your joke the way you eat your food you chew it like anything that you do they're constantly criticizing you can't wash the dishes well enough you leave food out you love to do anything they will find to criticize you're wearing that same clothes you're in that same stupid shirt no matter what it is they will find a way to criticize our church I know is an easy target for some people I don't think so but for some people so they may say things that I've heard it all they don't preach enough on that insert the subject they preach too much on insert this subject there too I've heard it they're too fluffy and then the next thing they're too intellectual okay they read they quote too much from the Bible yes I've heard that they quote too much from the church fathers we don't charge we don't charge for food we don't give enough options why aren't you charging for food why aren't you giving more food options I've actually heard they don't have enough Coptic and I've also actually heard they have too much Coptic yes I've heard it I mean I'm amazed worship is too short worship is too long I mean guys I've heard it I I hear it all people will find something to be critical of no matter what no matter what a person does Aristotle once said he said to avoid criticism do nothing say nothing be nothing and I don't want to criticize the quote but if you be nothing and do nothing and say nothing then you're simply a lazy bum okay that's what you are okay Winnie Winnie the Pooh loved one of the Pooh Winnie the Pooh yes and they also quote we need to poo in there as a church at st. Nana so where did the Pooh said people say nothing is impossible but I knew do nothing every day so so you know Winnie the Pooh found a way to turn Aristotle on his head I God blessed Winnie the Pooh good good people first Peter chapter 3 verse 17 Peter says the phone he says it is better it is better if it is God's will to suffer for doing good than for doing evil it is better if it's God's will to suffer for doing good than for doing evil I want to promise you something right out of the bat right out of the gate you will be criticized follow Jesus and I promise you you will be criticized you absolutely will be criticized there is no way that any of us will make it through life without being criticized okay and what Peter here is telling us is it's better you're gonna be criticized if you do good you're gonna be criticized you're gonna do evil you're gonna be criticized which is better saying of course duh it's better to do good and be criticized you cannot we cannot avoid being criticized I want to talk about four ways how we can respond to critical people in our lives and this isn't easy but these are four ways that we can respond number one is oftentimes you don't respond okay everyone has an opinion you don't have to respond to everyone's opinion okay everyone has something to say you don't have to respond to everything everyone will say to you just because someone criticizes you it does not obligate you that you have to respond you can simply choose to ignore you can simply choose to say I don't have to respond to that because well not to be critical well I'm just not gonna respond to that okay first Peter chapter 2 verse 23 when he was reviled he being Jesus when he was reviled he didn't revile in return he didn't respond in the same way when he suffered he didn't threaten but he committed himself to him who judges righteously Peter here is describing Christ and what he's saying is that people were critical of Christ they're saying he's a friend of sinners and by the way that wasn't like a compliment now we would say all that person is so nice he's a friends as we see that as a compliment in those days that was a criticism they're critical of them that he was actually but friending people who were far from God he's a drunk he's a lunatic he's a glutton this is how people were speaking about our Lord but Christ he doesn't retaliate he doesn't defend he doesn't complain what he does here is he trusts okay he commits himself he trusts the one to whom judges righteously proverbs chapter 19 verse 11 the discretion of a man makes him slow to anger discretion of a man wisdom of a man the person makes him slow to anger and his glory is to overlook transgression okay overlooking transgression overlooking a criticism from someone is not the same as pretending it didn't happen what he's not saying here is pretend like nothing happened what he is saying is your glory is when you overlook real time the offence of another person to you it's when you make a conscious decision that you are going to let go of a criticism from a person regardless of who they may be the word to let it go literally means to pass to pass over okay it's a form of forgiveness in real time you're just deciding at this point that I'm choosing to not respond I'm not going to pretend like it didn't happen I'm simply going to overlook or pass over and forgive this person for what they have done few years ago in a previous place I was serving up there was a one of the servants who was going around the church and was passing like was gossiping basically about me to a number of the servants and parents and caused a real great deal of division in the church and some conflicts and and whatnot it was it was really it was like not a comfortable situation at all and we tried talking about and we tried and and like one thing is I can't do as I can't pretend like someone's done something I can't pretend like it's not there okay but what I ultimately decided to do was not to pretend like it wasn't happening but rather to overlook was to say this person has done this probably perhaps for one of these number of different reasons okay and it was at that moment when I decided I said I'm going to overlook this transgression that this person has done to me they have sinned against me it was at that point that healing began to come in not only in the relationship between the two of us but in the broader community of youth in fact when I left that previous parish this person and I had grown so deep in our friendship that you would never have known that there was any kind of issue or conflict or tension between us previously okay sometimes choosing to overlook a situation not pretending like it didn't happen okay but simply acknowledging a person had said something but I'm choosing not to respond sometimes that can bring healing and even when it doesn't still the choice is ours that we do not have to respond to every single little offense your role is simply to obey God not to answer your critics okay Christ remained faithful to the Father not needing like you needed to respond every time someone threw an ad hominem attack or criticism his way he remained faithful he kept going number two is sometimes you respond carefully so number one sometimes you don't respond and sometimes you choose to respond carefully and there's a difference between reacting and responding okay a reaction is usually an emotional action that happens someone has set something they've hit me and I'm going to punch him right back right there's a an equal and opposite reaction to every action okay so there's a difference in reacting and responding judges chapter 8 verse 1 and 2 now the men of ephraim said to him they're talking here to Gideon okay Gideon is in a midst of a conflict and he's now gonna deal with this conflict they asked him why have you done this to us by not calling us when you went to fight with the Midianites they reprimanded him sharply so he responded to them they they begin to criticize him sharply and he simply says listen this is what I've done I harvested I did this I gathered the grapes okay this is how God has worked they reprimanded him they criticized them sharply he doesn't react he doesn't say well you guys relays where were you why didn't you come who are you who gives you the authority don't you know I'm the judge he doesn't respond in that way at all okay he doesn't react he responds and in the following verse what we find is because of his response he didn't react he responded with wisdom it says that the then their anger towards him subsided when he said that and what your imagine if they came and began to accuse him and he's outnumbered now and they begin to accuse him and he's begins to react emotionally and begins to shout at them and Yelp them and say pointing fingers at them and say who are you what gives you the right what would they have done they would have all attacked him they would have jumped him right if you would have reacted rather than responding with wisdom saying listen I'm gonna give you an explanation of what has happened okay I'm not trying to give excuses I'm giving explanation you will find people will constantly criticize you why are you back in school why don't you go back to school your ministry could be serving more people why are you so focused on these people why are you staying at home women why use why are you working right ladies you can't you can't win either way if you work why are you working if you stay home why aren't you working you will find people we all will find people who will find a way to criticize us no matter what it is and our job is simply if we're going to sometimes we don't respond sometimes we respond carefully and when we do respond carefully we offer an explanation not an excuse there's a next difference between an explanation and an excuse an explanation will make sense an excuse is sometimes just we're fishing for for something then we're just fishing for something a friend may unleash on you for absolutely no reason your co-workers or your supervisor may pick you apart maybe your parents are writing your back and no matter what you do it's never enough maybe your spouse is constantly on your back no matter what you do it's never good enough and one of the the key things and I man I every time I come up shortness I'm like if I would have just done this one little things would have helped me so much wait before you respond wait before you respond when we say respond carefully sometimes you just need to take a deep breath think for a couple minutes before reacting wait a little bit before you respond when emotions are high wisdom is low when emotions I'm not saying that we all should be Stoics here we don't have a motion but when our emotions are high and we are angry or someone said something that's critical and hurtful when emotions are high wisdom tends to be low weights before you respond when emotions are high we're not being led by the Spirit of God we're being driven by our emotions if you've ever gotten a message and you've started typing when you're angry don't hit Send whatever you do don't hit something okay don't hit Send apparently gmail has kind of Google's figure this out okay you can actually log into your settings I've been told and you can put like a delay of like 60 seconds within your settings it'll it like it sits in your sense yeah it sits in your sent messages or sending messages folder some like that but it won't send it for like 30 seconds or 60 seconds because what oftentimes happens we send a message and we hit stand or like oh my god what I just do what I do what I do and then we try to like just fine figure no no that was fine and we we dig down and and don't get sucked just hashtag don't sit sent okay and just remember remember oftentimes when criticisms come your way the criticisms aren't about you the criticisms that are coming your way or not usually about you most angry people are usually hurting people if someone's angry at you or angry and they're leashing it out or lashing out at you it's not about you it's that they're hurt and you happen to be in their way if you don't notice like sometimes you'll have a person and they're like they're the nicest person to everyone in the world but with you they're a complete and utter does it's like a deserter jerk to you I mean there's no other way to say it there's no nice way to put it okay most angry people are just hurting people and they will find someone or some people to take it out on wait patiently take a deep breath I know this requires so much patience and humility but and discipline sometimes I don't have to respond but sometimes I have to respond carefully I need to wait for the person to calm down think about my words and then respond rather than react in the moment because what happens if if I react it's gonna escalate it's gonna ask Lee okay I was reading a marriage book years ago our first or second year of marriage and one of the examples that was given was I think the husband left out the food and then the wife kind of picks on him and he said you know I just forgot and then it turns into something so small and turns into oh you're just like your father and this and this and they're like now talking about divorce and it's like oh my goodness okay just take a deep breath relax okay most angry people are usually hurting people you know I've never met a well-adjusted happy productive and positive person who constantly posts hateful comments on Facebook I've never met that person someone who's like just a a really like positive happy person and they're sitting in front of Facebook and they're saying you people are the scum of the earth and you deserved and it's like oh my god like I read those messages I'm like something something's wrong so there's something behind those comments okay whenever I read like crazy and those of you who are looking at me like I see some faces you're not on social media much okay there's some really toxic things on social media it's ugly I want to tell you those like I'm not not to be critical but my imagination is those are not really well-adjusted happy people we're sitting there like constantly banging out like rude hurtful mean critical things sometimes they're just social media trolls but you know nonetheless but fine every Inger is a Hertz behind every angers are her quite frankly I want to have compassion we want to have compassion towards others I personally want to not take it personally but instead of reacting with emotion I want to respond with wisdom when people say things that are not always necessarily the nicest I'm not gonna react we're gonna prayerfully respond with wisdom okay so we said when sometimes you don't respond sometimes you don't respond to critical people sometimes you respond carefully occasionally you listen and make a change occasionally you listen and make a change okay sometimes let's be really your critics might be right sometimes they might be right if everyone is telling you the same thing everyone is saying the same thing maybe there's something there that you got to listen to if everyone is telling me that the way I react to certain situations is wrong maybe there's something to it maybe there's something there if everyone is telling you that you're dating the devil may I mean I don't like calling in with a devil although Jesus called Peter the devil that was last week okay anyway that's for a different reason but maybe like that person might not be the best person for you if everyone is telling you you're yelling too much you're angry too much you're whatever too much maybe there's something there maybe maybe occasionally we listen and make a change and if we don't we're missing an opportunity we're missing an opportunity I mean listen if I am if I am in a party of one as far as the voices that I hear it's only my own voice that's problematic wouldn't you say I mean if the only voice that I ever listened was my own voice that's a problem proverbs chapter 15 verse 31 and 32 I'm going to read in the nkg v JV and then in the New Living Translation the ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise the ear that hears the rebukes of life not of death but of life will abide among the wise sometimes people are not giving us just attacks or criticisms but they're wanting to give us words of life to build us to encourage us to help us he who disdains instruction or rejects or hates this instruction despises his own soul but he who heeds rebukes he who heeds rebukes gets understanding if you heat or rebuke you get understand let me read to you the New Living Translation that's it's I like the way that it's worded if you listen to constructive criticism you will be at home amongst the wise if you reject discipline you only harm yourself you only harm yourself if I'm not listening to feedback from others at least occasionally then there's a problem there's a problem it's its problem with me missed opportunity listen when I first started preaching years ago I had certain moves that I did with my hands okay and I would always get like people would make fun of me for they would tell me like you have this thing where you like you carry a box you move it from here to here you pull it for here here and you're like trying to make a point and when the points really emphatic it's like a big box and then you move and it's like you wanna it's a big point other times it's like if it's a really heartwarming message I like rub my hands together and I'm just it's it's the love of God really warms our hearts and it can be distracting but the truth is like he he warms us from within and then if I'm trying to count like if I was like saying you got to do this or that will happen it was like the windshield wipers right this you do this or this is gonna be the result hey so I kind of listened and evolved and instead of those that kind of evolved into I recently notice I started doing like the touchdown if it's a big one it's like the goalpost like God wants something great for your life right I want something big for you and instead of the rubbing hands there's praying hands right and these are more subtle than the rubbing hands but I listened to the critics listen to the critics and when it was a very emphatic point it was like you got a your chopping wood chopping wood all right so we I heard from others and they said you know when you do this it kind of and sometimes the Box still comes out I'm not gonna be able to make it through today but when you listen to others or regardless of what it is in your life you do so with hopes of being being more being more better being more effective if it like being better at what you are trying to do we all make many mistakes in life I mean I'm maybe I'm the only one am I the only one here okay I think we all we can if we're honest with ourselves we could say we make many mistakes in parenting and leadership as a husband parenting friendship we all make mistakes okay and if I can't think of a couple of times in the last year that someone has spoken into my life and I've made a change that's a missed opportunity in my life okay that's a missed opportunity sometimes sometimes we ignore sometimes you don't respond at all sometimes you respond carefully number three is occasionally you listen and you make a change number four throw out all of that always work to guard your heart why because there's a critical spirit out there the work of the devil is to criticize okay he's the critic he always wants to find something wrong so we want to guard our hearts so that when words are coming we need to first discern are these words of life or words of death sometimes we hear words of death and they're cloaked as words of life you're miserable if you continue to do this you're going to end up doing this and this and this and you're the worst sinner and you're sometimes we have to not sometimes we always want to be sure that we're working to guard our hearts proverbs 4:23 tells us guard your heart keep your heart with all diligence because out of it spring the things of life out of it spring the things of life proverbs chapter 12 tells us there is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword but the tongue of the wise promotes health some people another translation says some people make cutting remarks but the words of the raht wise bring healing and sometimes we don't were not sure if this person is going to be a person that's going to speak words of health and healing in life or words to hurt us okay and sometimes once again it might not be that they're bad evil people but that they're hurting people and maybe they're just hurting more now or they're not hurting at all now so sometimes let's just be real sometimes someone has deeply hurt us in the past and we've put up this wall around us no matter what they say we will find a criticism in it but perhaps this time they're speaking something that's a word of life and if we don't if our hearts not guarded then we won't be able to discern which of the three how we respond in that moment because of our corrupted nature we oftentimes see things in a very distorted manner and so we can all be overly critical at times can you believe the way that he talks can you believe the way that she dresses can you believe the way that that person carries themselves can you believe they walked into church late again can you believe my boss he's such an idiot can you believe how those people spend their money they're so reckless with their money can you believe the lack of work ethic that those people have can you believe they're bad man they're bad manners like that's one of the things honestly they get those of you know it's under my skin with my own kids yeah but I have to be sure and remind myself to speak words of life it's my kids while I'm correcting not criticizing them my critical spirit our critical spirit we've got an O is always born out of pride ignorance and hurts there's a difference between seeking to be constructive and build another person and tear a person down whether we are in need to overcome a critical spirit or we are overly sensitive to criticism listen some of us our gift is criticism criticizing others okay and for others we are deeply like impacted when someone speaks a word that's critical it tears us apart well like fall apart we'll be in bed literally for the neck like the next week can't face the world because this person said they didn't like something my presentation at work or they didn't like the dress that I wore the the suit whatever it is okay and it'll tear us apart whether we are the overly critical spirit or overly sensitive the solution for us is to become deeply grounded in Christ its to become deeply grounded in Christ who I am matters more than what others think who I am in Christ if I'm deeply grounded in Christ that I'm saying Who I am in him matters more than what others think about me it's not to suggest that other voices don't need to be heard but I'm saying that the most important thing for me is to be deeply rooted in a relationship with Christ I'm not moved by the praise of fans or the criticism from haters if people build me up and praising my praises I'm not going to be overly moved by that and if people tear me down not gonna be torn down by that either some of you all have heard this this desert this Desert Fathers story about a monk on Appa who told his monk he said I want you to go and spend all day next day at the cemetery cursing the dead people so he went and he began to curse them out like who knows what he said okay I don't know what kind of things like your God destroy your house and you donkey or whatever people said back then okay and then he came back and he said tomorrow I want you now the next day I want you to go and I want you to go and sing their praises wonderful things about them and then he came back the next day he said when you cursed them out how did they respond so nothing so when they praised him how did they respond said nothing he says so it should be with you my son he said I'm away okay same idea okay when people sing our praises we shouldn't be like oh my god you've made my life because when that happens when they criticize us or they don't give us praise it tears us apart we don't want to be overly moved by either praise from fans followers whatever you want to call them on social media friends whatever or criticism from people who will hate no matter what you do don't let compliments go to your head don't let criticism stick in your heart we're just going to do what God has called us to do irrespective listen the bottom line is when we walk into a place we are supposed to be carrying the light of Christ with us we are supposed to carry the light of Christ with us Romans 14 verse 10 to 13 Paul says the following says why do you condemn another believer this is now for us why do you believe condemn another believer why do you look down on another believer remember we will all stand before the judgment seat of God yes each of us will give a personal account so let's stop condemning each other we need to stop criticizing one another we want to be lights not darkness when a went out when a disciple of Christ walks into a place the light of Christ enters that place because you are filled with the Holy Spirit when you walk into a place be a source of life not condemning not criticizing but building lifting others up there's so much criticism and darkness there's so much negativity out there I believe Christ is calling his church to built to speak the truth and love this is not a call to pretend like everything if something is wrong something's wrong speak the truth but always do so in love and when we come up short we confess that we acknowledge it and we seek to grow we seek to grow all right [Music]