Isn’t it simply amazing how people will rise up to criticize you when you start doing something for Jesus?
Well, how should you handle stinging criticism, ugly accusations, vicious slander, unkind comments and negative remarks when they come your way to discourage and attack?
In the gospel of Luke 7:36-48, we are given the familiar story of Jesus and His disciples dining at the house of a Pharisee, called Simon the leper. During that feast, a woman carrying an alabaster jar of very expense perfume approached Him and after opening it, poured the perfume on Jesus’ head and feet. Then, while weeping, she began wiping the perfume from His feet with her hair and kissed His feet in complete adoration of Him.
While the beautiful fragrance was wonderfully still in the air, many were troubled by this entire scene. Some challenged the waste of such an expensive perfume, scoffing that it could’ve been sold for a lot of money and given to the poor. But, during the very midst of vicious stares, gossip and even name calling, she didn’t allow the shamefulness or embarrassment of being called "a sinner" discourage or detour her away.
The Pharisees began to condemn the fact that Jesus would allow such a vile creature and notorious sinner to do such a thing, let alone enter His presence. Many therefore concluded that since he didn’t know her character and didn’t rebuke her then he couldn’t really be a true prophet. But, Jesus came into this world to seek and save the LOST and, today, we must never forget our main mission is to continue to carry on as ambassadors for Christ.
This woman not only did what she felt led to do in her heart and soul, but did so in the very face of slanderous remarks and negative criticism. Where she had met Jesus earlier, or what message of His had brought life to her dead heart and soul, we are not aware of. Her love for her Savior was greater than the slander of men. Her humility poured from out from a heart that had been healed, forgiven and changed. Her dedication was so pure that she totally discounted the expense of her offering and the negativity of men. Her only focus was on loving The Lord because the mercy and grace shown to her by Christ was far greater than the ugly comments from men.
What has Jesus done in your heart and life? What blessings has He done in your life or home? Once you’ve counted His blessings, are you ready to pick up your cross and follow Him daily?
In our world, criticism is something unavoidable and inevitable. And if you try to make everybody happy and love you, you’re just wasting your time and energy. While Satan will always try to use criticism to produce a stinging effect upon your mind, as a believer you must weigh it against the love, mercy, forgiveness, healing, deliverance and saving grace shown to you by our Lord.
Often, the greatest stinging remarks or most negative comments Satan brings are from the mouths of those that are closest to you: family members, relatives or the closest friends. But, we must allow the peace of God to guard our hearts and not become distracted from our worship, fellowship with and service to God.
It’s also very important to also understand that not all criticism is bad. We must have an open and discerning heart towards God’s correction. Constructive criticism will come from people who truly love The Lord, are filled with The Holy Spirit and desire to mentor you to grow.
Unfortunately, those who are NOT in love with Christ or sent by The Holy Spirit will only bring negative or destructive criticism. Don’t allow their comments to bring you down, affect your relationship with God or prevent you from doing His will.
Jesus was so moved by her passionate and genuine act of devotion that He forever immortalized her by saying, "Wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her," (Mark 14:9).
And Christ today is still moved as we demonstrate passionate and genuine acts of devotion to Himas we reach out to touch and impact the lives of others as we are led from a heart filled with love for Him.
~Dr. Andrew Bills
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