HOW DO YOU REACT TO CRITICISM?

It is natural for people to react strangely to what is new, strange, baffling or even exciting. Talking about what is new, we have a lot of it in the body of Christ principally because God is always doing something new and because the devil is always trying to counterfeit God. Criticism is neither strange nor surprising; it is rather our reaction to it that can be both strange and surprising.

How did Jesus react to the constant attacks from the Pharisees, Sadducees and the Jews in general? He was mostly criticized for not keeping the Sabbath, (Mark 9, John 9, John. 5), and for making Himself equal to God. (John. 8:56-58, John. 10:30). In the face of all this, Jesus remained calm and focused. He was not moved to hit back or lose His temper. He knew who He was and who was backing Him.

Jesus knew within Himself that He was genuine and on the right path, so He did not need to change His character or style, His vision or values in order to satisfy the demands of His detractors.

However, He did listen to them and gave ample explanations where necessary. For instance, He took time to explain to the “Law Keepers” that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath, thus, it is unfair to allow a man continue in pain just because we want to respect the Sabbath. He also explained to them his messianic mission although they were plagued with unbelief and never got to benefit from His presence among them.

The lesson we can learn from this is that, we must never let criticism push us out of focus or away from our vision and values. People will always have something to say, and if you keep mutating in response to it, you will end up with a strangely-colored man-made vision and a queerly-decorated world-inspired ministry.

At the same time, we must not close our ears and eyes to critics. Sometimes, being in the forefront disconnects us from daily reality and critics become a check on our excesses. They bring us back to reality. Each time you are criticized, it gives you an opportunity to re-examine your values and decisions.

In all, your reaction to criticism is a reflection of how confident you are in God and what He has called you to do. If you are deeply rooted in God, like the baobab tree, you will not be afraid of the wind.

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