DEALING WITH BASELESS CRITICISM

March 29, 2023

DEALING WITH BASELESS CRITICISM

 

As a pastor for the last 55 years, I have had the joy of being encouraged and blessed and prayed for by so many people. It is what carries you in your task of shepherding people. As I look back over five decades of ministry, their love has dramatically enriched my life.

But also, a pastor leads. And when anyone leads, there are almost always some who disagree. Disagreement is not defeating if you see it for what it is and deal with it biblically. In fact, it can be extremely useful to hone a decision to bring it to a good, Spirit-led conclusion. But gossip, slander, and unfounded criticism often go with the territory. I have had people who felt their God-given responsibility was to discredit and tear me down. They think they have the spiritual gift of deflation.

Not fun. Not fun at all.

A LIBERATING PROMISE

But here is a promise from God, a reality that has carried me for decades.

“Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, so a curse without cause does not alight.” (Proverbs 26:2)

What God is saying to us is this: If we get criticized for what we’re doing wrong, we must see our sin and need and correct it properly. This is ultimately good for us. It may not be delivered with the right intent, but for the serious believer, there must be a desire to take it to the Lord and seek to find “the kernel of truth,” as Dawson Trotman said, and then make adjustments as needed.

But for the unfounded criticism—the judgments made by others that have no basis in the truth—there is something you must understand: it will not stand. It will gain no traction. It will not rest on your life or in the minds and hearts of those who really matter to you. “An undeserved curse goes nowhere,” as the New Revised version says.

If there is no basis for their evaluation or gossip, it will not stick to you ultimately or in the minds of those around you. Truth always wins the day. Just as a lack of integrity will always be found out, the presence of integrity will ultimately discredit those who bring baseless charges. You should always seek to be reconciled and be at peace “as far as it lies within you” (Matthew 5:23-24; Romans 12:17-21), and you should never pick up an offense or carry unforgiveness in your heart. But if others’ baseless criticisms come, file them in the right category and do not give them weight in your soul. They will not “alight.” They’re like a gnat on an elephant.

AND DEALING WITH THE OTHER GODLESS GUY …

My greatest struggle has not been with those who bring such charges, as I’ve matured a bit and seen them for what they are and rest in God’s promises. But there is another enemy, and he is an “accuser of the brethren” and a relentless whisperer. Jesus described him as the “Father of all lies.” He tries to take a baseless accusation and keep whispering it in my mind till I believe it about myself. And, he’s good at it.

My dear friend, now in heaven, Scott Wallace, said his dad used to tell him, “Don’t let Satan rent space in your head!” If you are a follower of Christ, your life belongs to Jesus. He owns the title deed, and Satan has no legal right to remain there. That’s why God promises that if we will “resist the Devil,” he “will flee from us” (James 4:7). This is a reality. He must leave the resisting believer. But you must recognize his accusations and resist Him in Jesus’ name, firm in your faith. He’ll keep returning for a while, thinking you are not resolute in your spiritual defiance. But if you keep resisting, he will leave “for a more opportune time,” just as he did with Jesus.

If someone is criticizing you, take it to the Lord in prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you anything you need to know about their words. Learn from it and go on. And if there is no basis in their words, laugh at the enemy’s vain attempt to destroy or distract you. Resist their gossip and Satan’s accusations and move on. God’s promise is true. A curse without cause will not stick!

 





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