“But the people mocked these messengers of God and despised their words. They scoffed at the prophets until the Lord’s anger could no longer be restrained and nothing could be done.” – 2 Chronicles 36:16.
No one likes criticism, but encountering some is inevitable, so we need to learn how to respond in a godly way. Although you might be tempted to become defensive or angry, remain calm and listen. The words may hurt, but great benefits come to those who carefully consider what is said. The Bible is replete with people being criticized.
The Bible does not say anything about people mocking Noah and his family while they were building the ark, you have to assume given the situation, that people ridiculed what they were doing. Then there is Nehemiah. He got the king to see his point of view. He got all the materials he needed. And he inspired the people to get to work. Then came the discouraging insults: “Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews,saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices? Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap—and charred ones at that?”Tobiah the Ammonite, who was standing beside him, remarked, “That stone wall would collapse if even a fox walked along the top of it!” (Nehemiah 4:1-4)
Jesus was ridiculed by everyone present during His crucifixion. The crowds cried “Crucify Him!” before Pilate. The soldiers beat and mocked Him. People who passed by Him hanging on the cross hurled their insults at Jesus. The religious leaders mocked Him. Even the criminals who were dying beside the Lord threw in their own ridicule Handling criticism and ridicule with grace is possible because Jesus portrayed it and He’s our example to follow.
Something wonderful happens when we take on an attitude of grace toward people who have been malicious or judgmental or spiteful toward us: their criticism can’t affect or change us. We understand that the problem is with them, and not with us. So, instead of being offended and hurt, we are free to joyfully minister forgiveness and grace into that person’s life. The result is that instead of the unfair criticism succeeding in tearing us down, it actually serves to build us up, spiritually and emotionally, as we follow in the footsteps of Christ.
Every rebuke is an opportunity from God. It’s a chance to let your Christian character shine by showing love to your critic. If he is angrily attacking you, your respect and kindness become a powerful testimony. Criticism is also an occasion to humble yourself and accept the Lord’s correction.
- How should you respond when your faith and beliefs are ridiculed?
- What can we do differently this week when faced with criticism?