Enjoying the Journey
It is inevitable that critics will come. If you obey God there will be some man who does not understand. And the critics are not always foes – sometimes they are friends and family. Even Jesus said to Peter, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” Sincere people can serve as the enemy’s mouthpiece.
It is not your critics who make the difference – it is your attitude toward them. We all want to defend ourselves. To prove them wrong. To be right. But, what if the negative is actually a positive?
Criticism is always hurtful, sometimes unfair, and occasionally exactly what we need to hear. Regardless, it helps if you can see the Lord at work in the midst of criticism and hear His voice above all others.
Thank God for your critics! In some way all criticism can be constructive…
- When the critics are right they are the Lord’s messengers. Let every criticism cause you to search your heart before the Lord. Is there any truth to the criticism? “Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities” (Psalm 141:5). These are what a wise man once called “the wounds of a friend” (Proverbs 27:6). They hurt, but they heal. Such truth is not always what we want to hear, but what we need to hear.
- When the critics are wrong they remind you that you must seek to please God alone. Attempt anything for God and you will be misunderstood, misinterpreted, misrepresented. Jesus said, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18). We expect the world to criticize. Perhaps the greatest surprise and disappointment comes when criticism comes from God’s people. Remember that the enemy fights from without and within. Most of all, remember that you only have to please one person – the One who led you in the beginning, and the One you will answer to in the end. Live and labor for an audience of One.
- Whether they are right or wrong, the critics serve to keep us humble. Criticism points out the failure of both the critic and the criticized. There is only one perfect One. His name is Jesus. And even He had His critics. “He answered nothing” (Matthew 27:12). You may receive criticism but you do not have to become a critic. Let it die and live in victory.
Dr. Frank Sells once said in my hearing, “Thank God for everything the Lord uses to humble you.” Indeed, thank God for your critics!