Williams Christmas Letter 2020

Family & Friends,

It’s 2020 and we’ve almost made it to the end of the year. I think we can all agree…it’s been a year! I typically pen our annual Christmas letter, but this year I recruited some help from Little Miss. 🙂

Wow! This has been the best year of my life! I’ve already had my 2nd birthday party even though I don’t turn 2 for a few more days, but Papa and Nana insists that I get a summer birthday party every year. So, on June 27th Nana made me a half birthday cake and we had a party. I’m growing fast and talking up a storm. I’m as smart as a whip and pretty much the cutest little thing ever, but sometimes I get in trouble. Nana says it’s because I’m somewhat stubborn and act just like my Dad did when he was 2.

Daddy (I call him DaDa) works very hard at his job every day. He comes home dirty with lots of stories to tell. He bought me and Mommy a beautiful house this year. I have a room with a big girl bed and my own playroom. Mommy takes care of me and Daddy. She does a really good job at it!

On Sundays they take me to church. Papa preaches about Jesus. Nana plays the piano. Daddy plays guitar and leads music. Mommy works hard at training me to be quiet so I can listen and learn. Aunt Abigail and Uncle Andrew are there too and all my friends! Nana thinks it’s really wonderful that we worship together as a family. I don’t understand the significance of it all yet, but I will someday.

My Papa sure does love me. He has candy in his pocket that is just for me. When he’s not preaching about Jesus, he is working hard on other things. He is super busy, but he always makes time for our family. Nana thinks he’s a rock star.  Nana spends every Wednesday afternoon with me. That’s our girl time. We read books, watch Frozen, and sing songs like ‘Jesus loves me this I know.’  I’m pretty sure she does other things, but those don’t matter to me much.

My Aunt Abby turned 21 this year. I guess that’s a pretty big deal. It must have been because the whole world shut down for it.  We couldn’t have a party with other people, so Nana and Papa gave Abigail a surprise scavenger hunt around town. It was fun. Abby is either working 1 of her 2 jobs, hanging out with her boyfriend, or reminding me how cute I am.

My Uncle Andrew is a Senior this year. (Nana says that this is her 20th and final year of homeschooling.) Andrew just turned 18, works part time, does his online studies, and just finished up his football season with the 10 and 0 Bentonville Tigers. Drew Drew is a pretty cool dude. The world is waiting for him so who knows what he’ll do next?

My family is pretty amazing. We laugh loud and love big and I couldn’t have asked for a better one.”

Emma Rose, age 2 (in a few days)

I don’t know what this year has held for you and I certainly don’t know what the next one holds, but every now and then let me encourage you to look at the world through the eyes of a child. It’s much simpler. Here is something I do know; life is short. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow and only a few things will matter in eternity. And this I know more than anything: Jesus knows me. This I love. I hope and pray that you hold on to the same truth. May our hearts be turned, and our eyes focused on Him – the only One worthy!

From our family to yours – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 Love, The Williams Family

Williams Family Christmas 2019

family 2019

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! We hope you’ve had a wonderful year.

This is our 8th year at Cornerstone. Dana says that the pastorate is one of the hardest and most rewarding things he will ever do. Hebrews 13:7 says, “they (pastors) watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief.” We’re blessed in that our church makes serving a great joy and we dearly love them. In addition to ministry, Dana is working on getting his real estate license and trusting God to direct him on the right path to take moving forward into 2020.

I (Kimberly) decided my path continues to take me down the road of entrepreneurship. So, I left my job this spring to pursue more freelance work. While pursuing that I launched an all-natural cleaning business with Alisha and Abigail. They are the backbone of the business and I’m so thankful for their work.  God has blessed our efforts and continues to grow the business. Our schedule is filled and we’re praying about expansion in 2020.

One of our greatest joys since last Christmas was the birth of Emma Rose on December 27th. Emma is walking and jabbering and such a delight! She’s brought so much joy to our family. She loves books and being outside. Aaron and Alisha are wonderful parents. Aaron started a new career this year. He is working in HVAC and seems to really enjoy his work. He still serves at the church and leads our music.  Alisha is enjoying being a mom and working part-time in the business.

Abigail runs out the door every morning at 5:30 am to her barista job. The rest of her time is spent working with Alisha. She put her vinyl business on hold for a season and is praying about its future. It’s been a busy year for her. We’re very thankful that she is still at home during this season of life.

Andrew turned 17 a few months ago. This year has been packed full. In addition to his online studies, he took a part-time job, and joined the BHS Football team in January. (They ended their season a few weeks ago as Conference Champions. #GoTigers) He’s had to balance a lot this year and we’re proud of the work he’s done.

One of the biggest changes in 2019 was our move to Bentonville. We sold our Bella Vista house in August and downsized to a townhouse not far from the church. It’s been an adjustment for everyone, but like everything in life….it’s just a season.

It’s a crazy, busy season for sure. Everyone is working hard, coming and going, and balancing life the best we can. But, no matter how busy we become, Sunday evenings at 6 pm our family stops what we’re doing and gathers for dinner and game night. We laugh, tell stories, and enjoy the blessings of family.  Of course, none of those blessings would be possible without God’s mercy, grace, and infinite love.

Our prayer for you is that you’ve experienced the love of God in your life. He demonstrated it by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins. In His mercy He does not give us what we most ardently deserve. In His grace He gives us what we certainly don’t deserve. Only God can love like that!

Blessings to you and your family this Christmas and may your home be filled with His love!

The Williams family

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1Jn 4:10)








2018 Williams Family Newsletter

christmas tree 2018This year I put up a real Christmas tree. It’s the first real tree we’ve had since Christmas 1993. It’s not perfectly shaped like the artificial trees. It’s a little messier and we have to water it. It takes just a little more effort. But it’s real and we’re reminded of that by its sweet, pine fragrance every time we walk in the door.

Hanging on that tree is a new ornament for our first grandchild.  Emma Rose is due to arrive on Christmas Day! Alisha is healthy and doing well.  Aaron couldn’t be more excited. We’re so happy for them and know they will be wonderful parents. They moved to Bentonville earlier this year, so we are thankful to have them just a little closer. Abigail has kept herself busy working several jobs in addition to her business. She saved up and paid cash for a new car this year. She is a wonderful young lady with a heart that seeks after God. Andrew turned 16 this year. He has a driver license in his pocket and a new to him (but very old and thanks to his sister passing it down) car. He’s a natural leader, in the middle of his 10th grade year, and exploring options for the future.

Dana and I launched our first book together in February of this year. It was a labor of love and 25 years in the making. We encourage you to check it out at www.theedenconcept.com.  He is doing what he loves most —pastor of our sweet church— and working hard in his new job in project management while balancing it all with the strength of God. After 22 years of working from home, I went back into the workforce this year. It has come with a lot of adjustments, but also blessings.

As we wrap up this year, I can’t help but think about my “real” Christmas tree. We live in an age of filters and flawless Instagram photos and where it is normal to fake perfect. The truth is that it’s easier and more convenient to be artificial. But God calls us to be genuine, transparent, and real. He already knows our hearts. When we are finally real with ourselves, admit that we’re broken, and cry out to God to save us, then and only then can we be real with others. Our love can be without hypocrisy as it states in Romans 12:9 and God can shine His light through us in this dark, dark world.  The artificial message of Christmas surrounds us, but the real message is that when this world was at its darkest, unto us a child was born. Keep sharing that message! He is the Prince of Peace. If you are looking for real peace in your life, look to Jesus!

From our family to yours, we send our love and wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

December 2018 family



Submission is an ugly word.

At least, that is what most people think. But, for the Christian, who has a submitted life to Christ, it is a beautiful term.

God ordained the institution of marriage. He established it, created it, and set the rules for it. When we follow his ways, it works beautifully. It takes a Christian husband and wife working together to fulfill the marriage plan as God intended. However, we can only implement change in ourselves. A wife cannot control who her husband is or what he does. A husband cannot change his wife. Both can, however, live their lives in a way that promotes change.

Over at The Eden Concept, Amy Lee Bell, blogger and free-lance writer, shares her thoughts on the role a wife plays in submission.

What should you do when you feel that your husband isn’t treating you right? Maybe you can sense a reoccurring streak of selfishness, or maybe it’s as bad as a complete disregard for how you feel. Worse than that, perhaps you can see that he is making poor choices or ignoring the mandates set forth in God’s Word. How can you make him understand?

Click here to read the rest of the article.



bookThose who have followed my blog know that this has been a work in progress over the past several years.  I’ve been writing about marriage since 2008 and over 2 1/2 years ago I shared about a new book my husband and I started working on HERE.

Well, it is almost here! The Eden Concept: Marriage God’s Way will be launched on February 1, 2018.

Here is what a few people are already saying about the book:

“This is the best book and most comprehensive teaching on marriage I have ever had the pleasure to consume. I absolutely loved it!”  Matthew Christian Harding, author of ThePeleg Chronicles

“Dana and Kimberly each join male and female perspectives with their own personal and creative abilities, presenting a scriptural and enlightening work on a much needed topic. Even if your marriage is already good, read The Eden Concept, then use it for a better marriage.  Dr. Joseph Harris, D.Min., pastor

“Eden Concept refocuses couples in God’s intention for a beautiful, lasting relationship. Dana and Kimberly Williams prefer practical, biblical advice to strengthen every marriage at every stage.” Lea Ann Garfias, author of Rocking Ordinary

“The Eden Concept: Marriage God’s Way is a refreshing read in today’s culture that includes Biblical accuracy throughout. Dana and Kimberly have captured the essence of a godly marriage that paints the picture of a fulfilling marriage at any age. I highly recommend this engaging, motivating, and inspiring book for any marriage wanting more than the status quo.” Dollie Freeman, author and blogger at Joy in the Home

 “The Eden Concept is strikingly relevant for the church today. Practical and Christ-centered, this book should be put into the hands of anyone who is considering marriage or who is already married. Woven together with the hopeful thread of biblical truth, this book is both a teacher and a lifeline for marriages everywhere.” Leah Highfill,  author and blogger at Embracing Grace

“The Eden concept is full of takeaways. It’s a no nonsense look at the beauty in the design of marriage as it was intended from the beginning.

I love that the book was written by Dana and Kimberly together. There is a unity of voice that serves as an example of what we should strive for in marriage. The book is perfect for small group studies. It holds fast to a biblical vision for family. If you have had your fill of pop psychology type relationship commentary, you will find this book refreshing.” Paul Bass,  Writer, Producer, CTN TV-45

Through the month of December, I am looking for Christian bloggers who would like to join the Launch Team and help spread the word. Our Launch Team application is now open, and Dana and I would LOVE to have you join the team. Get all the details here:  https://theedenconcept.com/join-the-book-launch-team/

When Your Marriage is in Trouble

marriage trouble

Have you ever sat with a wife sobbing uncontrollably because her husband just walked out? Have you ever counseled with a man whose wife left him for another? Have you ever talked to a young person who is broken over their parent’s divorce? Have you ever comforted a friend who is living with past regrets? Have you witnessed the devastation that a broken marriage has brought to a family?

I have…

Marriage troubles are devastating. In fact, recently I posted an online marriage survey and the responses would break your heart.  People are hurting. Men and women are giving up. And, every month or two I hear of another marriage ripped apart.

Ripped apart by sin.

Ripped apart by selfishness.

Ripped apart by worldly influences.

Perhaps, you are in the middle of marriage heartache right now and in need of a friend and biblical encouragement. Let me be that friend who points you to the One with all the answers.

Call out to the Lord

Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. (Jeremiah 33:3)


Cast your cares on Him

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1Peter 5:7)


Cease from anger

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. (Psalms 37:8)


Cling to His mercies

Hear me, O LORD; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies. (Psams 69:16)


Commit your ways

Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. (Psalms 37:5)

I don’t know what you are going through right now. But, I do know that life gets extremely difficult when your marriage is in trouble. You are not alone. The Lord knows what you are going through. He cares about your marriage. He wants to do a work in your life for His glory. Go to His Word. Seek out His answers and trust in Him, dear friend. He cares for you and He will never fail you.

eden logo

If you haven’t already, click here to fill out my simple, 8 question survey on marriage. It is completely anonymous and just takes a few minutes.  My next book (and first one co-authored with my husband) is called The Eden Concept: Marriage God’s Way. Be watching for announcements on a coming launch!

Puffed-Up Christians

puffed up

Social Media is exhausting! Most of the time I scroll on by. Every now and then I stop and interject. It’s probably pointless, but I’ll never know. The other day I wasn’t feeling well, so curled up in my recliner with a blanket and that 2nd cup of coffee, I lingered on Facebook a little longer than usual. (Honestly, I should have gotten up and cleaned the toilets. It probably would have been more edifying.) A controversial topic was posted and what followed was rather disheartening. Seriously, do we really think that name-calling and bashing one another is appropriate as professing Christians? Does the bickering back and forth help the cause of Christ? Or, does standing for truth on Facebook make a difference. I’m not being condescending. I seriously want to know. We are called as Christians to speak truth. And even when done in love it sometimes inflames others, hence the “you’re arrogant” remarks. Other times, Christians are truly being arrogant.

Let’s talk about that for a moment.

Have you ever met one of those Christians? A better question…Have you ever been one?

Toward the end of His ministry, Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Jerusalem and wanted to pass through the village of the Samaritans (Luke 9:52-56). However, the Samaritans would not receive Christ. Burned with anger, The Sons of Thunder asked, “Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, even as Elias did?” In other words, just destroy them! How dare they spurn the Living Son of God! How dare they reject Him! They don’t deserve mercy. James and John should have checked their motive behind their “zeal” for God. Knowing their hearts, Jesus rebuked them. “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” Too many times I’ve seen professing Christians with that same arrogant, prideful, puffed-up “zeal”. If I were to be honest, I’d have to admit that I’ve had this same attitude at times.

It’s shameful.

It hurts the church.

It harms the cause of Christ.

But, this isn’t the only type of arrogant, prideful, puffed-up attitude that Christian’s sometimes carry. One particular church struggled with it. The Corinthian church was a mess.  They were rather worldly and known in the community for their divisions. Another known issue that had to be dealt with was the sexual immortality of one member. “It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.” (1Co 5:1-2)

Church, you are puffed-up! You’re prideful. You’re arrogant.

I didn’t use to understand that. How could a church of professing Christians be arrogant about such a grievous sin? What’s there to be prideful about? Were they seriously puffed-up about this situation?

However, I’m starting to understand. The worldlier the churches are becoming along with faster access to information via the internet, it’s becoming clear. It looks like this.

We’re non-judgmental!

Who are we to speak out against their sin?

Everyone sins. At least we’re not hypocritical like some Christians!

And, in their pride and arrogance they proclaim to be tolerant and loving. The truth is that they are so puffed-up that they don’t even mourn over the sin in their brother’s life. The harder truth is that they don’t love him enough to speak hard truth to him. If they truly cared for his soul they would remind him of what God’s word says about adulterers. (And yes, Christians are commanded to make judgments, but that’s another post.)

Christians can be puffed-up with a holy, self-righteous indignation, or they can be puffed-up with a non-judgmental, too-tolerant attitude. Regardless of what end you stand on, extremes are usually dangerous.

By the way, do you think that social media has hindered or enhanced our ability to communicate with one another? Here’s my take.

Leave a comment. I’d like to hear your thoughts.

The C+ Marriage

c+ marriage

A couple of years ago, while visiting with friends, my husband made the comment that we have been married 15 glorious years.  They knew we had just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary, so seeing their confused expression he clarified, “The first five were not so glorious.” It’s true.  We didn’t have a horrible marriage by any stretch, but it certainly wasn’t all it could be. Early on we made mistakes that (had it not been for God’s grace) should have destroyed us. But, about 5 years into our marriage God intervened. He began to place people into our lives that made a drastic impact. We changed churches and sat under a pastor who preached expository messages. We began to grow toward God and toward one another. His Word became precious to us and we started living out precepts that would bind our hearts and strengthen our marriage. Fortunately, our oldest was born during that first 5 years. By the time our children were old enough to learn about marriage, we had a C+ Marriage to model.

One of the most important lessons you will ever teach your children is on marriage. Dad and Mom, whether you realize it or not, every day you are teaching a Marriage Course. The adage is true; more is caught than taught. Your children are watching and learning and they will build their ideologies about marriage based on what you teach them. The core curriculum for marriage consists of 4 C’s that you teach every day.


We often take communication for granted. I know this because of how we use our words. The Bible states that death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). Words can build up or tear down. They can heal or destroy. They can be seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6) or corrupt (Ephesians 4:19). Jesus said, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh,” Mat 12:34. A person who speaks ugly, hurtful words does not have a mouth problem; they have a heart problem. Their speech is a measurement of their spiritual condition. It is a monitor of the inner heart that is revealed for everyone (including our children) to see.

Children learn communication skills from us. They watch and learn how to talk to one another, treat their spouse, and work out disagreements. They can also learn how to argue, yell, and fight. It is no wonder that David prayed, “Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3). Communication affects every aspect of a person’s life including their future marriage, parenting, and work.


Character is defined by what we do when we think no one is watching. But, guess what? Someone is always watching. In other words, character develops in darkness, but it manifests in light. As parents, we have just a few short years to help develop our children’s character. No one has a greater impact on them. When my children were little I read to them a book that taught a different character trait each week. One week we would focus on joy; another week on humility. It was a sweet little book with stories and Bible verses to go along. But, here is the bottom line. I can teach character traits every day of their childhood and still fail in teaching them true character.

We know that the scriptures teach us to not just love in word, but in deed and truth (1 John 3:18). We can talk about love all we want, but it must be shown. Likewise, we can teach our children about compassion, but they will embrace it when they see us being compassionate toward one another. They will truly learn about forgiveness when they see their dad and mom practicing forgiveness. Mom, they will learn patience when they witness you demonstrate patience with your husband. Father, they will learn gentleness and kindness when they see you treat your wife in this manner.


Commitment is a big part of our character.  Statistics range, but most say that around 50% of marriages end in divorce. A lot of men, women, children and families have been drastically affected by it. I hesitate to make sweeping statements, but in many cases a lack of commitment plays a role. Marriage is hard. Everyone has problems. Life events and circumstances can overtake a couple. The enemy whispers give up and move on, but commitment shouts never!

Commitment is not something that can be taught in a classroom. However, it is something that can be demonstrated daily and passed on to our children. One of the most beautiful promises God gives His children is “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee,” Hebrews 13:5.  Are you exhibiting similar commitment for the sake of your children? No matter where you are in life and no matter your past, you can begin today being fully committed.


In his book The Conviction to Lead, Albert Mohler articulates the heart of conviction. He states, “Convictions are not merely beliefs we hold; they are those beliefs that hold us in their grip.” We can let go of convictions we hold, but those that hold us will never be relinquished. What convictions do you and your spouse embrace? Are they grounded in faith? Do they lead to action?

Marriage is a testimony, shaped by convictions. In Ephesians 5:22-33 God lays out the beautiful picture of a godly marriage.  It looks like this:

  • Wife submit to your husband (verse 22).
  • Husband love your wife (verse 25).
  • You are no longer two, but one flesh (verse 31).

Then God gives the motivation behind marriage.  “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church,” Ephesians 5:32.  Your marriage here on earth is a picture of the heavenly marriage between the Lord and His bride. This is a conviction that holds me – my marriage is a testimony for my Lord! When Christian couples have unhealthy marriages, they are depicting to the world a distorted picture of Christ and His church.  However, marriages built on healthy communication, godly character traits, unwavering commitment and lasting conviction portray a beautiful picture to the world and testimony to our children.

Are you teaching your children how to have a C+ Marriage?  Are you teaching: Communication, Character, Commitment, and Conviction? My husband and I will be the first to admit we don’t have a perfect score, but it is God’s grace in which we stand. And, we’re both looking forward to many more glorious years.

Would you like to learn more about marriage? My husband and I are finishing up our newest book, The Eden Concept: Marriage God’s Way. You can read about it here and make sure you are signed up to follow this blog to receive updates! 

Dealing with Criticism


Zig Ziglar jokes that some people find fault like there is a reward for it. You know these people, the Negative Nancy’s and Pessimistic Paul’s of the world. They are your neighbors, co-workers, family members and sometimes even church members. These people have nothing positive or nice to say about anyone. You smile when they approach and secretly whisper a prayer of thanksgiving for this “thorn in the flesh”. You do this because you know that learning to deal with them grows you. Yet, you wonder just what in life has made them so miserable and your frustration by them is overshadowed with your pity for them.

Aristotle said, “Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” Dale Carnegie expressed it in a slight different manner. In How to Stop Worrying and Start Living he said, “Remember that no one kicks a dead dog.”  He reminds his readers that unjust criticism is often a disguised compliment. When you are criticized you are accomplishing something worthy of attention. Does this resonate with you? Then let’s learn how to properly define criticism, practically deal with it, and then permanently defeat it.

Defining Criticism

The first step in defining criticism is to identify what it is not. Criticism is not the same as biblical exhortation.  I realize that the idea of accountability (i.e. exhortation, looking out for one another, discipleship, admonishment, and being answerable to one another) comes across as archaic. However, as we read the Bible we see a theme of accountability to one another.  We are to love one another, honor one another, edify one another, admonish one another, care for one another, serve one another, restore one another, bear one another’s burdens, and be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving toward one another.  We are to teach one another, comfort one another, exhort one another, and consider one another.  The Bible says we are to confess our sins to one another, have compassion with one another, be hospitable to one another, minister to one another, and fellowship with one another.

God designed us for accountability. He does not intend for the believer to be an island to themselves. In the Bible, coming to the faith always meant coming to a local fellowship of believers (the church or assembly).  Salvation is personal, but the Christian life is not.  When we are born into this world we are born to a family; when we are “born again” we should be joined with a family of believers.  In this family, the older are to teach the younger (Titus 2).  The strong in the faith should help to restore those overtaken in faults (Galatians 6:1).  The brethren exhorts the unruly (I Thessalonians 5:14).  We are called to encourage one another daily so that sin will not harden our hearts (Hebrews 3:12-13).  And we are to love those in sin enough to have compassion and make a difference in their life. (Jude 22-23) This is biblical exhortation.

Second, criticism is not making a judgment. It is here Matthew 7:1 is quoted, “judge not that ye be not judged.”  This is the problem that arises when Scripture is taken out of context.  The Bible does not say we cannot judge the sins of others, but we are to first cast the beam out of our own eye “and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye,” Matthew 7:5.  We are not to be hypocritical in our judgment, but do so in love and compassion.

There are things we cannot judge. We absolutely cannot judge the heart or inner motives of others. Only God knows the heart (I Samuel 16:7). However, this does not mean that we are to be undiscerning Christians; for we are commanded to make righteous judgments. For example, 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 states that when disputes arise between believers it should be settled in the church. A judgment has to be made. The church is to judge serious sins of its members and take action. We see this in Matthew 18:17 and 1 Corinthians 5:9-13. Those in the church must judge which men have qualifications necessary for elders and deacons (1 Timothy 3:1-13). As believers we are to judge the teaching of preachers by the Word of God (1 John 4:1). Jesus told us in Matthew 7:15-20 that we are to make judgments based on fruits in these men’s lives. Christians have to discern or make a judgment concerning the salvation of others to obey God’s command in 2 Corinthians 6:14 about not being unequally yoked. And according to 1 Thessalonians 5:14 we are to judge which people are unruly, fainthearted, and weak in that we can warn them. Making a judgment based on God’s Word is not the same as being critical of them.

So, if criticism is not biblical exhortation or righteous judgment, what is it? Simply put, criticism is an opinion with a negative connotation. (Notice exhortation and judgment has nothing to do with opinion. Both are based on God’s Word.) However, opinions in themselves are not bad. Everyone has them. Opinions can be given in love, but criticism is often associated with animosity. It is a condition of the heart with the intent to destroy and discourage. It tears down instead of builds up. (Proverbs 14:1) It brings death instead of life. (Proverbs 18:21)  It obsesses with flaws and imperfections instead of letting love cover them. (1 Peter 4:8) Criticism is a heart issue.

Dealing with Criticism

Now that criticism is defined, how do we deal with it when it comes our way? A peek into the life of David can give insight into how to handle critical attitudes in a very practical way. No matter what position in life you are in, you will receive criticism. David was criticized as an insignificant shepherd boy and as the prominent king of Israel. He received criticism from the world and from those near him. David was criticized in his youth and in his old age. He was criticized often even though he is considered a man after God’s own heart. So how did David deal with criticism? Let’s look at two specific incidences in his life.

“Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”  Can you see young David asking this question?  Righteous anger burns within him.  Will no one take a stand? The strongest and bravest of the Israelites surrounded David, yet none dare battle the giant. King Saul, the one chosen to lead the people, sits in fear doing nothing.  So, the young lad, willing to fight for the Lord, speaks out. Outside vilification is expected, but these words come from a brother. “I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart,” he says.  David, criticized by one closest to him, addresses the matter. “What have I now done? Is there not a cause?” I Samuel 17:29.

Much later in David’s life he is again verbally attacked. King Saul is now dead and David reigns as king.  He is weary, worn, and fleeing from his son Absalom.  As David approaches Bahurim a relative of Saul named Shimei comes out cursing and hurling accusations toward him.  (Pay attention. It is often a technique of the enemy to attack when we are tired and exhausted.) “Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah unto the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head,” 2 Samuel 16:9. David had the authority to stop his accuser’s tongue, but this time he chose to respond in quiet humility. “…let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD hath bidden him,” 2 Samuel 6:11.

There are several lessons we can learn from David on how to deal with criticism. The first is to determine how to respond. There is, “a time to keep silence,” Ecclesiastes 3:7. In the case of Shimei’s attack, David was silent. His response was consistent with a verse he later wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. “I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me,” Psalm 39:1. There are plenty to times to hold our tongues when faced with criticism. But in that moment we should be careful to not hold our prayers. David’s prayer was that, “the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day,” 2 Samuel 16:12. He knew God could do much more for him than his enemy could do against him.

We also need to recognize there is, “a time to speak,” Ecclesiastes 3:7. David addressed his brother when criticized about his motives in facing Goliath. We also see him speaking out when criticized at other times in his life. (See 2 Samuel 6.) When we reply, we should do so in love and remember that a soft answer turns away wrath. When it comes to responding to our critics, remember that there is, “a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” Let us seek wisdom to be able to discern which is appropriate.

The second aspect of dealing with criticism is to not let it affect your plans. Even though David’s brother came against him, he still became victorious over Goliath and the Philistines. Even thought Shimei came against him, David still continued on the path set before him. God was leading him in both incidences and he would not be deterred. Have you faced criticism in the way you raise your children or live your life? Do not give the enemy victory by letting it throw you off course. Has a friend criticized you for teaching your children at home? Follow God’s plan for your life even in the face of opposition.  As we later see with David and Shimei, sometimes those that oppose us come back seeking forgiveness. (See 2 Samuel 19:15-23.)

Finally, do not let criticism steal your joy. How easy is it to get discouraged when faced with just one critical person! Notice what David did after Shimei’s vile attack. “And the king, and all the people that were with him, came weary, and refreshed themselves there,” 2 Samuel 16:14. David wasn’t alone and neither are you.  For every one person who opposes you, chances are many more support you. David and all the people that were with him came and refreshed themselves. They would not let the hostility of one take away their joy.

To practically deal with criticism you must first know how to respond. Do not let it affect your plans or steal your joy. Then you must learn how to defeat it once and for all.

Defeating Criticism

Criticism is a two-headed beast that must be defeated from within and without. We cannot stop others from responding with criticism, but we can defeat it by stopping its intended purpose of tearing down. When it rears its ugly head, we have power over how it influences us by overcoming it with good. “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good,” Romans 12:21.

But what if criticism is a problem that comes from within? We have addressed being on the receiving end, but to truly overcome it we must look within ourselves. Critical words tear down and we are all guilty of being critical at times. As Christians, we are to build up others through encouraging and positive words. There are two verses I go to when I find myself needing encouragement.

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers, Ephesians 4:29.

Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. Colossians 4:6.

Notice that both verses refer to grace. When it comes to permanently defeating criticism we do it with goodness and with grace. But, there is one more weapon used to defeat this monster. It is love, the most powerful of all. We are told in Proverbs 10:12 that, “love covereth all sins.”

Let us not think that we have power within ourselves to overcome the nature of our tongue. “For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison,” James 3:7-8.  As we see here, no man tames his tongue. It takes something more. In Mark 7 we see a deaf man who could not speak clearly. Just as it took a touch on the tongue to heal him, we too must be touched by the Lord. Only through the power of God can we subdue our words. It takes His goodness, grace and love working in us to control our words and defeat criticism.

Thank God that through Him we have the capability to overcome evil with good, turn negative into positive, and criticism into encouragement.



Have you heard?

Please don’t repeat this to anyone.

Let’s just keep this between you and me, shall we?

I’ve said each of these phrases before. At times, they have been perfectly acceptable. And yes, other times I’ve said them to my shame. Gossip is an ugly sin.  It breaks hearts, hurts marriages, ruins friendship, ends careers, destroys ministries, generates grief, and tarnish reputations. It is no respecter of persons and the more it’s repeated the more it’s believed.

If you’ve ever been hurt by gossiping words, you understand how painful it can be. And, if you’ve ever been gossiped to, be prepared to be gossiped about. That’s the nature of this beast.

The scriptures warn us about the use of our tongues.

  • Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles. (Pro 21:23)
  • In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. (Pro 10:19)
  • A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter. (Pro 11:13)
  • If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. (Jas 1:26)
  • But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. (Jas 3:8)

The more we talk, the more we risk sinning with our words. That is why the Bible speaks of wisdom through silence. But, I like to talk. I especially like to get together with my friends to visit, share stories, communicate and bond through our words. So, where does talking cross the line and become gossip?

I’m glad you asked.

When you share privileged information with others, it is gossip. Simply put, some information is private and not intended for everyone to hear. If the information is not yours to share, don’t share it.

When you repeat negative rumors about others, it is gossip. This line of gossip is often accompanied with the intent of tearing others down to build others up. It’s the nastiest form of gossip.

When a negative is discussed with anyone who cannot solve the problem, it is gossip. Sometimes negative information must be shared. If you are in leadership or ministry of any sort this is especially true. However, when you share negatives with people who have no authority to intervene or offer valuable insight into the issue, it becomes nothing short of gossip.

The list is not inclusive, but it’s a good start. David prayed, “Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips,” Psalms 141:3. Christian friend, let this be our prayer!

Have you personally seen the negative effects of gossip? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.