Embrace The Critic

Mike Focht 4/26/2024

Criticism. No one likes it, but everyone needs it. A mature Christian view on anything will earn you criticism, loneliness, and other annoyances. Maturity realizes that even these annoyances are also a part of spiritual growth. 

   One of the most challenging and discouraging forms of these annoying hindrances is criticism from the Christian status quo. Once you begin to follow Jesus Christ personally, others following Him based on public consensus will resent your stance. The herd doesn’t like it when individuals are going against the spiritual flow. Stirring the waters causes waves of conviction and godly introspection that are not always welcome. 

   The response is typically to criticize the one making waves. These criticisms will come in just about every area of life. Are you going to church again? Why won’t you watch that? Everyone wears them. Do you think you are better than us now? Don’t you know how long I have been at this church? There is nothing wrong with drinking this. Don’t act as if you’ve never done that, too. How old are you? You are becoming a Pharisee.  

   Of course, the list could go on and on. The whole point of the criticism is to stop you from continuing on the path of growth. Even if the critic is a true follower of Christ, they are being used by the devil at that moment, just like Peter and the rest of the disciples were pulled into Judas’ evil heart of criticism toward Mary of Bethany when she broke her costly flask of spikenard in personal worship of Jesus for His death. Wonderfully, Jesus stood up for Mary and remains the Defender and Rewarder of all those following the leading of the Holy Spirit in their personal lives.  

   Satan remains the ultimate malicious critic. He actively seeks to criticize and discredit anyone looking to grow in their love and worship of Christ. He will subtly seek to undermine any act of personal worship or devotion by inferring that it was an unnecessary waste. All criticism of that kind comes straight from the devil himself. There is no Scripture where believers are to hinder, discourage, block, or criticize another brother or sister when taking a step of personal worship or growth. Nowhere! Only the accuser of the brethren does something like that. We must never be that person, and we must never allow that person to discourage our pursuit of God. 

   Jesus, though perfect in life, endured constant criticism as He fulfilled His Father’s will. The disciples of Christ endured their portion as they remained obedient to Him. With two thousand years of historic church life and experience behind us, we must endure the same attacks. Everyone growing in spiritual maturity will face criticism. It is a necessary part of our spiritual growth and will produce sincerity of heart, humility of mind, purity of purpose, and godly endurance in us. Criticism will help make us like Jesus. We might not like it, but we need it. So embrace the critic. 

   Finally, don’t be surprised if many of those brothers and sisters who criticize you now return to bless you later. Gentle longsuffering with their critical spirit now often leads to embracing them in true brotherly love and fellowship later.