No one likes to be criticized. Especially for their art.
So how do we respond to critics?
What can we learn from Jesus and how He responded to His critics?
As you read through the New Testament you can see this coming from a mile away. Eventually, Jesus and the Jewish leaders are going to have it out. Often, they confront Jesus with a critical question hoping to trap Him.
Jesus’ response to their subterfuge is instructive. He answers them. Wow. Before you think about how he responded, just consider that simple fact. Today, our politicians have made not answering critics an art form. They actually take classes and study film to perfect their non-answers. I think this plague is infecting leaders all across our society.
The creator of the universe who doesn’t have to answer to anyone for anything, answers these snivelingly, wimpy, contentious, backbiting (hold on… I’ll tell you how I really feel in a moment), self-seeking, scheming, pompous, sententious hypocrites.
I’m not usually gracious to my critics. My initial response is too often anger. I think things like, “Who do they think they are, I’ve forgotten more than they’ll ever know!” Or the always lovely, “I don’t have to answer to you!”
We dismiss others when we believe they are insignificant.
Jesus wasn’t passive, but He was magnanimous towards critics.
What if we applied that principle in our roles as spouse, parent, friend, leader and coworker?
Sometimes my wife, Rose, and I have intense discussions about how awesome of a husband I am. Well, actually, that’s usually my side of the argument. Her side can sound a little different. I am learning that I don’t get to decide how good I am doing, she does. Her side usually includes challenging my schedule and words like “never at home” seem to often get repeated. Submitting to that evaluation can be tough. It makes me feel exposed and vulnerable.
In the beginning of The Book of Revelation, Jesus is evaluating His bride. If I stood before Jesus and He recognized my hard work, tenacity, support and fortitude; I’d feel pretty good. I put a high premium on hard work and finishing tasks. The Church at Ephesus had all these positives, but Jesus commanded them to repent. Why?
Although they were busy, they stopped loving.
Keep thinking! Continue reading.
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (John 11:1)
Here are some quick observations from this phenomenal story of Jesus raising Lazarus.
Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. (John 11:5,6)
I am challenged by the fact that Jesus waited. This is a great lesson to not just respond to the need, but wait until the Holy Spirit says, “Go!” Although I don’t want to turn this into a formula, at least in this story, in this chapter, 77% of the time was spent waiting for Jesus to act. Keep thinking. Continue reading!