“But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?”
Critics will always be a part of life. It is absurd to think that you can go through life and be such a kind person that nobody will criticize you for what you are doing for Christ. Throughout the years, I have watched many men think that kindness will silence the critics, but even these men had critics. If you do anything for God, you are going to have people criticize you and try to destroy you.
If Jesus had critics in His ministry, you can be guaranteed that you are going to have critics. In the chapter above, three groups of people who hated Jesus asked Him questions with a hope to catch Him in an erroneous statement, but they failed. In this chapter, Jesus’ response to His critics teaches several lessons as to how you need to deal with criticism.
First, realize that you are in a spiritual battle. You cannot go through the Christian life and not have battles. Satan is not going to sit idly by and let God do great works through you without doing something to stop you. Criticism is a part of the spiritual battle, and you must get used to it or else you will quit on God.
Second, critics truly don’t want an answer. Jesus’ critics didn’t want an answer; they wanted a reason to destroy Him. Always remember that your critics want you to answer them so they can keep criticizing you. They don’t want an answer.
Third, there is always a hidden motive to the critic’s questions and attacks. Those who criticized Jesus had a motive; they wanted Jesus to be killed. Those who criticize you will never be happy until you are no longer in the battle.
Fourth, you don’t have to give an answer. Just because a critic asks a question doesn’t mean that you have to give them an answer. Proverbs 26:4 says, “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.” There are many times when the best answer to the fool’s criticism is no answer at all. You will find your silence to the critic will many times reveal the heart of the critic.
Fifth, deal with the real reason of the critic’s attack, not the deceptive questions. When Jesus answered His critics, He always revealed their problems before He gave an answer. He revealed the hypocritical hearts of the Pharisees; the lack of Scriptural knowledge of the Scribes; and the greedy heart of the lawyers. If you choose to answer, you had better know the real reason for their attacks, and that real reason must be exposed before you give an answer to their question.
Sixth, answer the critics with questions of statement. Most of the time, Jesus always answered His critics with questions. Questions have a way of putting it back on the critic. The more the critic talks, the more they reveal their motives, ignorance and wicked heart.
Seventh, use Scripture to answer the critics. Jesus silenced His critics with the truth of the Scriptures. Truth always shines a light on the wickedness and ignorance of the critics. You will never win a battle with the critic with your own logic, but you reveal the heart of the critic with the Word of God.
My friend, you will never get through life without criticism. Let these lessons from Christ help you to deal with the criticism the next time you have to face it.