Dealing With Your Critics
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: ~1 Peter 3:15
One day, a man met Spurgeon on the street, took off his hat, bowed, and said, "The Rev. Mr. Spurgeon—a great humbug!" Spurgeon took off his hat and replied, "Thank you for the compliment. I am glad to hear that I am a great 'anything'!" (W. Wiersbe, Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, p. 221).
How do you respond to your critics or to those who find fault in you? Are you aware of whether your testimony among men reflects a negative attitude towards you? If so, how do you respond to this? This morning, we want to consider the God-proven means by which we can positively respond to our critics and not impair our testimony.
There are the pressures to our faith.
Like it or not, not everyone will think highly of you. Some are spiteful toward those who proclaim Christ as Savior. Sometimes, bad chemistry exists between people, and both parties have perpetual conflict. The believers whom Peter was writing to were being persecuted for their faith. However, to make matters worse, these believers retaliated against their antagonists with meanness and anger. When your faith is being pressured, what comes out of you indicates what has been bottled up inside of you.
There is the priority for our faith.
We are called upon to sanctify the Lord God in our hearts. This means we are to keep our heart clear, consecrated, and consistent. We must keep our heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. This involves taking time every day for letting God’s Word speak to us and to pray to God. The sanctifying of our hearts must involve the two practices that never go wrong: the Word and prayer.
There is the preparation of our faith.
We are commanded to be ready to give an answer to every man that asketh a reason of the hope that is within us. First, we should be ready to defend what we believe. Second, we should be ready to demonstrate what we believe. The best answer for a Christian testimony is a life that is being lived for the glory of God. The Christian life demands a preparedness of the faith that we have in Jesus.
There is the proclamation of our faith.
We must be ready to witness and declare that Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. We must have a readiness to tell people that Jesus saves! This is to witness to those whom we are in contact with. It is an eyeball-to eyeball readiness to tell others: without Christ, what Jesus means to us and what Jesus can do for them.
There is the practical to our faith.
Our proclamation should be in meekness and in fear. This means we are to respond with a servant’s heart and reverence. We are to respond with a gracious spirit and one that is ready to accept, restore, and help. If our spirit is conceited and self-promoting, this does nothing to lead a person to Jesus. We must be conscious of the spirit in which we respond to those who are critical of us.
Are you ready to give an answer for your faith? How’s your testimony? Take the admonition in 1 Peter 3:15, and trust in God to help you speak up for your faith!
Have a holy God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Proverbs 22-23