“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”— Matthew 5:11
The famous English evangelist George Whitefield learned that it was more important to please God than men. With full confidence that he was honoring the Lord, Whitefield endured scathing letters accusing him of wrongdoing. However, there was one particular letter he felt warranted a response.
His reply was brief and courteous, “I thank you heartily for your letter. As for what you and my other enemies are saying against me, I know worse things about myself than you will ever say about me. With love in Christ, George Whitefield.”
George Whitefield wasn’t concerned about pleasing people or defending himself. He was unapologetically sold out to the cause of Christ and knew he would receive criticism for it.
Serving the Lord wholeheartedly will often lead to criticism. One reason for this is that when people see God using others in a powerful way, they’ll often feel convicted, and perhaps even threatened, about their own relationship with God. This spirit of jealously causes many to react negatively.
So what’s the right reaction? It’s to respond in a loving way to any criticism you receive. Hear it out and be willing to admit if you’re wrong. Handle criticism with a humble and gracious spirit and trust God to bring the truth to light!
Ask God to give you a spirit of grace and humility when dealing with others who criticize you unfairly.
Questions for thought
Have you even been unfairly criticized for doing what’s right? What happened? How did you respond?
What does a grace-focused and Spirit-led response look like in situations like that?