How Well Do You Take Criticism or Advice?

When someone critiques something that you have done, was it criticism or advice? That might depend on how they said it, or if you think it was fair. I think we all know that there’s a human tendency that the one making the critique sees it as helpful advice, but the one receiving it sees it as criticism.  Human nature doesn’t naturally like to get unsolicited advice. Sometimes it’s hard enough when we actually asked for advice. It may not be what we wanted to hear. It may challenge our pride. Proverbs 9:8-9 says, “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” The Bible is clear that a wise man learns from the counsel or rebuke of others. So, how am I doing on this? How are you doing?

There are three things that Ellen White wrote that we should never do. “No place should be given to criticisms, doubts, and unbelief.” (Testimonies to the Church, Vol. 5, p. 266) She gives numerous warnings against being critical of others and being a judge of others. She also writes often of the need to “be willing to take the advice and counsel of those who have experience.” (Testimonies to the Church, Vol. 4, p. 368) For her, there is a clear difference between criticism as compared to advice or counsel. Criticism was inspired of Satan to tear down whereas counsel and advice are to build up. But, it’s not that easy, because human nature tends to receive counsel as criticism. It may be misunderstood. Maybe it wasn’t given kindly enough. Human beings are complicated and sensitive. However, if the receiver sees how it will make him or her better, it will be accepted and greater effort to improve will be put forth. This is easily seen with coaching in sports, but in other areas of life it’s not so easy to see the benefit of the critique of another.

Paul looked “to God for direct guidance,” yet still “felt the need of counsel.” (Acts of the Apostles, p. 200). If the Apostle Paul felt that need, how could we not feel it? In Testimonies to Ministers it says, “Meekness and lowliness of heart will lead men to desire counsel at every step” (p. 501), and, “if we feel that we do not need the counsel of our brethren, we close the door of our usefulness as counselors to them.” (p. 500) In fact, Ellen White expressed that the church has a great need for “wise and considerate, well-balanced men, who will be safe advisers, who have some insight into human nature, who know how to direct and counsel in the fear of God.” (Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 362)

Ellen White acknowledged the human tendency to be offended when people are giving us advice. You shouldn’t “treat the queries of others in regard to your opinion as personal abuse. True, refined independence never disdains to seek counsel of the experienced and of the wise, and it treats the counsel of others with respect.” (Testimonies to the Church, Vol. 4, p. 240) “Faithful are the wounds of a friend: but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Proverbs 27:6) Our human nature wants recognition or even praise, but a true friend will not just tell us what we want to hear. Sometimes it is the one that we think is hindering us that is really our friend.

The real problem is that we don’t easily know our own hearts, Testimonies to the Church, Vol. 5, pp. 332-334 comment on this. ‘It is difficult for us to understand ourselves, to have a correct knowledge of our own characters…’The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?’ (Jer. 17:9)…We may see and condemn faults in others, while we have greater faults which we have never realized, but which are distinctly seen by others…There must be persevering effort to overcome selfishness and self-confidence. Self-examination must be thorough, that there be no danger of self-deception….Deal truly with your own hearts…As Christians we are less thorough in self-examination than in anything else; it is no wonder, then, that we make such slow advancement in understanding self…Self-love will prompt you to make a superficial work of self-examination; but let no vain confidence cheat you out of eternal life.”

Our prayer should every day reflect these words from Psalm 139:23-24. “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”   

Fred Dana, Associate Pastor 



This Week (April 16 to 21): 

• Tuesday @ 10:00 AM – Women’s Bible Study

• Tuesday @ 7:00 PM – Prayer Meeting with Seymour Morgan

• Wednesday @ 7:00 PM – Spanish Prayer Meeting 

• Friday @ 6:30 PM – Media on the Brain with Pastor Scott Ristema

This Sabbath (April 22): @ 9:00 AM: Morning Manna with Jeremy Klopfenstein / @ 9:30 AM: Central Study Hour with Pastor Fred Dana + Children/Youth/Adult Sabbath School Classes / @ 10:50 AM: Worship Service with Pastor Scott Ritsema  / @ 1:00 PM: Fellowship Lunch / 2:30 PM: Media on the Brain 

Upcoming Events

Media on the Brain. We see it all around us. Hollywood, popular music, TV, video gaming, spectator sports, e-relationships, and pornography are saturating the lives of God’s professed people, but what does the latest science say about the mind-altering effects of 21st century media? And what is the spiritual agenda in the entertainment and advertising industries? Find out starting Friday, April 21 @ 7 PM as we welcome Belt of Truth Ministries to Central. Join us and tell a friend. Click here to receive more information.

Daughters of God Tea. Please join us for fun, fellowship, revival, and learning how to be a Daughter of God on Sunday, April 23 at 11 AM in the Camellia Room. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP by April 18 to JeAnn Davis at 209.200.6138 or jeanncherie@sbcglobal.net. Click here for more information.

The Promise. Enjoy this year’s Spring Concert by Sacramento Central entitled, The Promise, as we journey in song through the promises surrounding the cross of Christ and the many others that enable us to walk with Him. Starting at 4 PM on Sabbath, April 29, 2017. Doors open at 3:30 PM.

Ladies’ Appreciation Breakfast. Hold onto your seats ladies. The men of the church want to express their appreciation to the women of the church by hosting a breakfast on Sunday, May 7 at 8:30 AM. It will be a special time for fellowship and encouragement (and, of course, good food!), If you are 18 years or older, please RSVP to office@saccentral.org by Sunday, April 30. Only 100 seats are available, so reserve yours quickly. More information soon to follow.

Week of Prayer. ALL are welcome to join us for this year’s Week of Prayer starting Monday, May 8 at 7 PM and running through Friday night. Justin Montero will share inspiring testimonies from his life. Justin was sentenced to 21 years in jail at the age of 24, but God had other plans. Hear his story of redemption and his firm trust in God. 

Family Matters

May 6 Launch Date. It’s not long now until Operation Joash kicks off. To learn more please visit https://zqh.orf.mybluehost.me/saccentral/operation-joash/

GYC West presents its 11th annual conference, “Reflect: The Daily Experience,” June 22 to 24 at Pine Hills Academy in Auburn, California. For more information and to register, visit GYCwest.com.


Central Happenings is published by the Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist Church, 6045 Camellia Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95819 www.saccentral.org

Sacramento Central Staff: Chris Buttery, Senior Pastor; Mike Thompsons, Associate; Fred Dana, Associate; Michael Butler, Youth/Young Adult; JeAnn Davis, Bible Instructor

Central Happenings: Chris Buttery, Editor; Chrystal White, Copy Editor/Distributor