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Rick Warren: Redemptive Criticism (and Other Virtues)

Rick Warren: Redemptive Criticism (and Other Virtues)

How have the past 10 years changed me? I hope I’m more dependent. The most important thing to me in the Christian life is depending on Jesus. You make a declaration of dependence.

I’m much less independent than I’ve ever been in my life. When you’re young, you’re cocky. You’re prideful. You think, I know how to do it. Nobody is more arrogant than the third-year seminary student who thinks he’s got a plan to build the church and hasn’t built anything.

It takes about 10 years to knock the ego you built in seminary out of you. After 10 years, then God can really start using you.

When I get up in the morning, my feet don’t touch the floor, I don’t get out of bed, till I have a long prayer that I pray every morning. Part of that prayer is, “Dear God, if I don’t get anything else done today, I want to love You more and know You better, because that’s what I was put here on earth to do. If at the end of the day I don’t know You a little bit more and love You a little better, I’ve missed the first purpose of my life.” Because God didn’t put me on earth to mark things off my to-do list.

It doesn’t matter how many things I accomplish or how many awards I win or how many interviews I do if I’m not closer to Jesus, if I’m not walking with Him. Jesus is my best friend, and I’ve walked with him now for over 50 years. And I talk with him just like I’m talking to you. In fact, I’ll often talk to Him and talk to you at the same time.

And so, being more dependent on God is the most important thing.

Being more gracious is the second most important thing. You can tell a person’s relationship to God not by their theology, but by their kindness and their joy. A lot of guys have a great theology, but they don’t know God—you don’t see it.

Amazingly, sometimes people who know the most about the doctrines of grace are the least gracious; they’re ungracious. And I want to be more like Jesus. I so want to be more and more gracious. If I’ve experienced grace, I want to show it.

One of the most Christlike things I can do is remain silent in the face of criticism.

Scripture says, when they falsely accused Christ of all kinds of stuff, He spoke not a word unto them. He refused to defend Himself.

It’s Christlike to not defend yourself.

It’s Christlike to not retaliate.

It’s Christlike to return good for evil.

When you try to do a middle road, then you get shot at by both sides.