As Though He Heard Them Not

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John 8:6 “This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.”

Jesus’ response to accusation and gossip is classic. The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman to Jesus who they say they supposedly caught in the very act of adultery. They asked Jesus if they should stone this woman as the law demanded. Instead of answering these fools, which He could have easily done, He knelt down to the ground and began to write on the ground as if He never heard them. Jesus understood that the loudest answer to criticism and gossip is no answer. He understood that the loudest condemnation to criticism and gossip is to continue doing right. Jesus knew that they wanted to take His answer and twist it, and that is why He knew that it didn't matter how He answered because it would have never sufficed this crowd. The intent of this crowd was to destroy Jesus, and He understood that you cannot cast your pearls before swine.

My friend, if you serve the LORD long enough, you are going to find yourself having enemies who want to destroy you just like they wanted to destroy Jesus. These enemies, and many of them are religious people, will attack and gossip with the hope that they can get you to respond. I have learned in my ministry that it doesn't matter what you say, lazy and self-righteous critics are not looking for an answer; they are looking to destroy you because of their evil heart. There are three times you need to learn to be silent.

First, be silent to gossip. When people begin to gossip, you need to act as if you never heard the gossip. A gossip wants your response because it feeds their ego of how much they know about everything even though they know so little about everything. The best way to silence gossip is to act as if you have never heard it. There is no fun to spread gossip when someone doesn't respond. You can rid yourself of many gossips if you learn to act as if you didn't hear them.

Second, be silent to criticism. Just because someone disapproves of how you do something doesn't mean that you should respond. The purpose of the critic’s criticism is to justify their lack of doing right, so the only thing they can do is criticize with the hope that you will stop doing the right that convicts them. The world is filled with critics. A critic is a critic because they are not doing anything themselves. I have learned that when I am busy doing what I am supposed to do that I won't have time to criticize or respond to the critic.

Third, be silent to attacks. I know the hardest thing to do when people attack you is to stay silent, but I have learned from experience that when if you act as if you didn't hear it that it will do more to silence those attacking. The attacker wants you to respond so that they know that they got under your skin, and responding as if you did not hear them always takes the pleasure away from their attack.

My friend, the best response to these three things is to keep doing what you are supposed to be doing. You will do more to silence the gossip, critic, and attacker by letting your works speak for you than you ever will by responding to them. You see, the one thing these people cannot answer is God working through you. So, the next time people gossip about you, criticize you, or attack you, just keep doing what you are supposed to do and that will do more to silence them than any verbal response will ever do.

Dr. Allen Domelle


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