Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.
–1 Corinthians 15:58
After you have discerned the cause of criticism and delivered your critic to God, the third secret for handling criticism is to determine to continue pursuing your dream. Keep moving forward in spite of the criticism. Remember, the test of a leader is what it takes to stop him. Look at Nehemiah 4:6-7: “So we built the wall and the whole wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work. Now when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repair of the walls of Jerusalem went on, and that the breaches began to be closed, they were very angry.” If you want to drive your critics crazy, just keep doing what God has called you to do. That is what Nehemiah did. He knew what God’s will for his life was, so he just kept moving forward in spite of the criticism to fulfill that purpose.
If you yourself are a critic, remember this: leaders build, but critics destroy. You might be thinking, “Pastor, are you saying that we should never criticize anything? We should never correct anything?” I am not saying that at all. But there is a difference between correction and criticism. If your desire is to help a person, you will not challenge them in a group; you will go to them one on one and say, “Can I share an insight that might be a help to you?” That is correction. On the other hand, the goal of criticism is destruction. The ironic thing is, when a critic is beating other people down, many times he ends up hurting himself. Does it really make sense to discourage those whom God has placed over you in your home, your business, your church, or your government? If they fail, you fail. True critics destroy. Leaders build up.
Finally, here is a principle for the criticized: the greater the goal, the greater the criticism. More often than not, the more intense the criticism, the more you can be certain that you are in the middle of God’s will. None of us enjoys criticism, but frankly I feel sorry for people who are so afraid of criticism that they never attempt anything great in their life. Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Great words to remember for not only surviving, but even thriving with criticism.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Surviving And Thriving With Criticism” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
Theodore Roosevelt, “Citizenship In A Republic” (speech), April 23, 1910, Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University, https://www.theodorerooseveltcenter.org/Learn-About-TR/TR-Encyclopedia/Culture-and-Society/Man-in-the-Arena.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org