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Whitney Williams: Surviving stinging criticism

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WORLD Radio - Whitney Williams: Surviving stinging criticism

A reminder of Christ’s saving grace in light of painful self-reflection


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MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, January 3rd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Commentator Whitney Williams now on how to survive those criticisms that just won’t quit.

AUDIO: [Musical score/rain from Titanic scene]

WHITNEY WILLIAMS, COMMENTATOR: It was a dark and stormy night.

Well, not literally—it was actually a beautiful summer day on the Galveston, Texas coastline. Not too hot, a nice breeze ... My husband, three boys, and I sat on the open-air deck of a large seafood restaurant overlooking tired shrimp boats. But as the sun shone down on us and relaxed vacation vibes wafted through the breeze, a dark storm wreaked havoc in my soul.

Several days earlier, at the beginning of our vacation, I’d received a heaping helping of criticism–several helpings, in fact.

And to be honest, it almost choked me … people being so right about my wrongness. I could have taken it as an opportunity to learn and grow, of course, but instead, I sat there chewing and chewing, sinking further and further into the depths of self-deprecation. “I’m obviously not cut out for this work you’ve given me, Lord.”

“Spit that out!” I imagined Him telling me in that moment, as if I were a little girl who’d just stuck a marble in her mouth.

“Lord?” I questioned, cheeks full.

“Spit it out!” I pictured him saying. “That gristle you’ve been chewing on—that embarrassment you feel … that shame and fear that keeps you standing still … If you want to live, give it to me. Spit it out.”

And he held out His hand.

So I did.

I wish I could tell you that that was that. But the thing about Satan is, he doesn’t let you forget your past sins and mistakes, does he? So there I was, sitting in church more than a year later, chewing, once again, on the gristle of criticism, when Jimmy Needham, a pastor at my church, reminded me that the cross has already said the worst possible thing that could be said about me–I was so wretched, God’s Son had to die to make me okay.

In other words, get over it, Whitney.

Picture you’re in line for a strawberry milkshake on the Titanic and someone skips ahead of you, Needham continued in so many words. Oh, you’re ticked. But then, the boat hits an iceberg. Everyone’s running. Leo passes you by and Kate Winslet. Fast forward a bit … you and this line skipper guy, you’ve been saved, you’ve been rescued …

Sermon: And they get you out, they sit you down, they put that nice warm blanket on you, they give you a cup of hot tea, and my question is, after all that, do you give a single rip about your strawberry milkshake? No. We can get over things we think are big when we stare at something bigger, yeah?

Yeah.

Oh, regurgitated criticism, where is your sting in light of my sin and Christ’s saving grace?

TITANIC: Come on, you really gotta hock it back. Get some leverage to it, use your arms. Arc your neck …

I’m Whitney Williams.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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