Character Tests

By Buford E. Davidson

A recent bulletin said, “Too many of my brethren criticizing the church, the elders, the preachers, teachers and their brethren and the church would grow if they would just keep their mouths shut.”

The dictionary defines a critic as one who judges, evaluates, or criticizes. Criticism is defined as: (1) the act or art of analyzing and judging the quality of something. (2) The act of passing severe judgment; censure, faultfinding” (Random House College Dictionary).

Never fear the critic. He is your best friend. If his criticism is in kindness, he desires to help you. If his criticism is through envy, you may yet learn ways of improvement. Answer your friend’s criticism by a better service and answer the unkind critic with a closer application to your task.

No right thinking person is ever harmed by criticism. Success in this world is in being not only better than the average, but better than the best. The perfection of the automobile is the annual production of a better car.

The development of the phonograph was a far step in providing music for every home, but the radio is better. The cinema was entertaining, but the talking motion picture far superior. Critics of their imperfections started the manufacturers to the production of the better. The whole business world moves forward by reason of severe criticism of patrons that compel study in industrial laboratories.

The home, the school, the church, and most of all the individual, are not without defects that invite criticism. How much one can take will determine how far one may improve. Resentment of criticism forbids improvement. If a person will not think and learn, he may not know wherein he has weaknesses and defects.

Every piece of steel in an automobile is tested for strength, every radio for perfection in blended tones. The perfect motion picture comes after many rehearsals, and many productions in attitudes and ensemble.

Many people resent any form of criticism, yet it is one of the greatest of teachers and implements for the improvement of one’s character. Criticism helps us grow in grace and knowledge, if we accept the criticism and apply its lesson to our character.

How do you react to criticism? Does it stir your anger and sometimes cause you to despise the critic? Or, do you accept it with a greater determination to improve and overcome faults and imperfections? The person’ who learns to handle criticism and to profit thereby has truly learned a great test of character.

Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 16, p. 493
August 17, 1989