Handling Criticism (2)

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).

Isaiah prophesied concerning the death of Jesus Christ and his prophecy was accurate even of the disposition of Jesus during his prosecution. Jesus had only a few words while he endured the persecution and criticism of the religious leaders. “And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king”” (Luke 23:2).

Jesus did not respond to the criticism and accusations levelled against him. He already told his disciples that he had the power to summon a host of angels to come to his defence. His focus was on the purpose which was ahead of him. To die to save mankind from their sins. As such he needed to preserve his energy and it did not make sense to stop to address his critics. “So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer” (Luke 23:9).

It takes a lot of energy to stop to address every criticism or accusation spoken against us. The knee jerk reaction is to try to explain ourselves, correct a wrong assumption or try to set people straight. The reality is that trying to do this can be emotionally exhausting and time consuming. More so feeling the need to constantly react to defend ourselves is counter productive. The Devil can use this as a strategy to wear us out and keep us distracted from what God is actually doing in our lives.

Don’t waste precious time trying to explain yourself to people who are not interested in knowing the truth about you. The negative version of you sits more comfortably with some people and it says more about them than it does about you. Remember that people often try to project their negative self image unto other people. A person who is extremely critical of others is a often very critical of themselves. It is one of the symptoms of a hurting person who does not feel very good about themselves.

Ignoring criticism takes a lot of emotional maturity and the grace of God to help us to keep the flesh under subjection. It is the fruit of the spirit that is self control, which will help us to resist the urge to bite back at critics. Being assured of who we are in God, what he has called you to do and the assurance that we are walking in his purpose, will keep us focused. “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33).

A.P.-Y.

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