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The Scarlet Letter

Judging Criticism Sin

Source: Wikipedia

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Charles Krieg | Date Posted: 2020-07-19

Scripture: Isaiah 1:18 ; Matthew 7:1

Author: Charles Krieg
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ILLUSTRATION

In the book of Isaiah we read, “Though your sins be like scarlet they may become white as snow; though they be crimson red, they may become white as wool.”

The color scarlet is a visual symbol of sin. In the classic novel The Scarlet Letter”  by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne is ostracized from her society because of her sin. Hester committed adultery and must spend her life wearing the scarlet letter "A" as a badge of shame.

But the subplot indirectly asks what letter ought the other members of the society be wearing. What is their sin? 

 

APPLICATION

Hester Prynne was forced to wear a scarlet A to announce her sin of adultery. Of course, if we all had to wear letters for our sins, we would need the whole alphabet!  To avoid hypocrisy here, we must acknowledge that sin is sin, and that we are all guilty of our own rebellions.  Sure, sin must be confronted, but in a spirit of humility, accompanied by the offer of restoration, forgiveness, and hope. 

Living In Glass Houses

Criticism Golden Rule

Source: Words To Live By

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Neal Pollard | Date Posted: 2019-09-15

Scripture: Matthew 7:12

Author: Charles Panati
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ILLUSTRATION

"People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." Lexicographers have traced the proverb back to Geoffrey Chaucer's poem Troilus and Criseyde (c. 1385), written when glass windows were extremely rare. Most windows, depicting biblical scenes in "stained glass," were found in churches.

Based on a Greek legend, the 8,239-line poem is the tragic love story of Troilus, son of the Trajan King Priam, and Criseyde, the widowed daughter of the deserter priest Calchas. Tolerance and sympathy are major themes of the tale, for many people want to keep the lovers apart--and in the end succeed (p. 210). 

APPLICATION

At some point, the saying came to mean that those who are vulnerable should not attack others (ibid.). Truly, in the broadest sense, the fact we are all sinners should keep us from hypercriticism with the faults of others (Romans 3:23).

But, a proper sense of our own faults, in marriage, childrearing, and Christian living, should cause a humility that addresses the faults of others not with stones but with prayer and compassion, "considering ourselves lest we also become tempted" (Galatians. 6:1). 

Criticism

Criticism Perseverance Discouragement

Source: Excerpted from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope By Charles R. Swindoll

Contributed By: Paul Sana | Date Posted: 2014-08-28

Scripture: Nehemiah 2:192 ; Nehemiah 2:4

Author: Theodore Roosevelt
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ILLUSTRATION

I appreciate the remarks made by the fiery president of a past generation, Theodore Roosevelt:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who does actually try to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

To those words I add a resounding amen.

APPLICATION

Looking for a role model on how to handle criticism? It would be worth your while to check out the book of Nehemiah. On several occasions this great-hearted statesman was openly criticized, falsely accused, and grossly misunderstood. Each time he kept his cool . . . he rolled with the punch . . . he considered the source . . . he refused to get discouraged . . . he went to God in prayer . . . he kept building the wall.

One of the occupational hazards of being a leader is receiving criticism (not all of it constructive, by the way). In the face of that kind of heat, there’s a strong temptation to “go under,” “throw in the towel,” “bail out.” Many have faded out of leadership because of intense criticism. I firmly believe that the leader who does anything that is different or worthwhile or visionary can count on criticism.

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9).

Shattered Mirrors

Criticism Patience Friendship

Contributed By: Barnett Gushin | Date Posted: 2014-08-14

Scripture: Matthew 23:24

Author: Karen Barber
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A Frozen Little Bird in a Pile of Manure

Deceived/Deception Criticism Humor

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-02-19

Scripture: Proverbs 29:5

Author: Unknown
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The 5:1 Formula for A Happy Marriage

Marriage Gratitude Criticism

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-11-16

Scripture: Philippians 4:8

Author: Drs. Blair and Rita Justice
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Low-grade Envy

Envy Criticism Judging

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-05-10

Scripture: Matthew 7:1 ; Romans 14:10

Author: unknown
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Take His Shoes and Run

Criticism Hypocrisy Humor

Contributed By: Barnett Gushin | Date Posted: 2012-03-14

Scripture: Proverbs 11:2

Author: unknown
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The "Stand On Your Head" Method

Evangelism Zeal Criticism

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2012-01-25

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 9:29

Author: William Booth
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Prelude To Depression

Criticism Marriage Depression

Contributed By: Ron Henson | Date Posted: 2012-01-09

Scripture: Matthew 7:3

Author: Ron Henson
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