There are so many things in life you can’t be sure of or ever know.
Here’s one thing you can be very sure of. If you attempt anything significant, you will receive criticism. How will you handle it? How should you handle it?
Jesus faced constant criticism from the most influential leaders of Judaism. As Paul took the gospel to the Gentiles, he faced opposition from both Jews and Gentiles. Both were executed because of their obedience to the Father. If our Lord and the Apostle Paul faced criticism, so will you.
How should we respond when we receive criticism?
First, let criticism be an opportunity for you to look again at what you are doing. Let it be a time of prayer as you seek God’s leadership. While the world would never look at criticism in this way, we can. We can use the criticism to get alone with God once more to ask Him for His guidance.
Second, we can respond to criticism by reaffirming our devotion to God. If God is for us, who can be against us?
Third, we can determine in all things to be found faithful. If this is what God wants, we must respond with a greater resolve to do those things God wants us to do. In spite of the critics, we must be obedient to the heavenly vision.
Fourth, sometimes you must respond to criticism; at other times you must be silent. How do you know the difference? When we seek God in prayer and look for His leadership, we will know how to answer (or not answer) each one. Godly wisdom that is based on Holy Scripture will show you the way.
Proverbs 26:4-5 deals with this very issue. Verse four says not to answer while verse five says to answer. Some Jewish rabbis could not accept the Proverbs as Scripture because of this contradiction. I don’t see this as a contradiction at all. The Proverbs is a book of Godly wisdom. When we seek God with all our hearts, He will show us the way. The wise person who seeks God will know when to answer and when to keep silent.
Fifth, hold your head up and do what God desires. Do not let your enemies keep you from Godly obedience. Nehemiah’s enemies wanted to discourage him from rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. They demanded that he come down from the wall to talk (they were setting a trap). He answered with a classic response : “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” (Nehemiah 6:3).
Finally, love those who persecute you and pray for those who seek to harm you. The result will be casting burning coals on the heads of your critics.
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. . . do not repay anyone evil for evil” (Romans 12:14-17).
Paul gave such Godly advice: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). Sometimes, people will not allow you to live at peace, but if it depends on you, be a person of peace.
May God bless you as you seek to live righteously for Him.
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