17 Jan On Criticism
I just finished reading an article in the New York magazine about an actress regarded as being critic proof. I wondered if that meant she was so good no one would dare criticize her or if it meant she was able to not pay attention when people did so. Criticism can be difficult to handle, especially when one is trying one’s best. After I preach I can have a hundred people compliment me and one person criticize. I will forget the compliments and obsess for the rest of the day on that one criticism.
Was it difficult for Jesus, who was perfect, to receive criticism? He got lots of it. “The Jews answered him, ‘Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?’” John 8. “The Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’” Luke 15. But, He also received recommendations from some interesting sources. “Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, ‘I find no fault in this man.’”
The reality is we will never please everyone. There will always be someone able to fault us. It’s a way for them to bolster themselves and cope with their own flaws. If they can make us look bad then they, by comparison, don’t look so bad. In the meantime with God’s help we will reach for the goal Jesus set for us in the Sermon on the Mount. “Be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Obviously we will never make that on our own. But I John 1:9 is such a blessing to read. “If we confess our sins He is able to forgive us and cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.” Don’t you love that?