Knowing Who I Am: Handling Criticism

Jesus clearly shows us that it’s unrealistic to expect we’ll always be able to avoid criticism.

We played the flute for you and you did not dance;we sang a dirge and you did not cry. ~Luke 7:32 

READING: Luke 7:31-35 

Although both were holy men, John the Baptist and Jesus had entirely different personalities and ministry styles. John was an austere loner who served in the wilderness, preaching a severe repentance. Jesus was the more sociable teacher, interacting with all kinds of people, easily balancing fearless confrontations with tender acts of kindness. Both got criticized – John for having a demon, Jesus for being a glutton and a drunkard.

It’s unpleasant to be criticized. It can make us question everything. We want to avoid it whenever possible. But in this passage, Jesus clearly shows us that it’s unrealistic to expect we’ll always be able to avoid criticism. Blessedly, He does not require from us a criticism-free ministry.

Best of all, in a few transformative words, Jesus takes much of the sting out of getting criticized. After all, think about it – both John the Baptist (the greatest prophet who ever lived) and Jesus (the perfect Son of God) ran into criticism for faithfully doing what they were called to do! And they were the paragons! It’s impossible to please everybody all the time.

Of course, you and I are far from perfect and may well deserve some criticism now and then. But criticism, in and of itself, does not necessarily mean we’re doing the wrong thing or that there is a fundamental flaw within us.

I love that Jesus made this point using two godly men whose ministries and personalities were so strikingly different. God appears to love variety in His choice of servants. Jesus gives us confidence to be ourselves and boldly do what God has called us to do. 

Dear Lord, Give me wisdom to discern which criticism to take to heart and which to blissfully ignore. Amen. 

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