Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens. ~Psalm 123:1
How well can you handle criticism? Criticism is when someone has taken the opportunity to give their opinion and remarks about who we are, what we said, what we believe, or what we have done. There is constructive criticism, which helps us make needed improvements to our life, product, or performance. There is adversarial criticism that dismantles, divides, and destroys. Adversarial criticisms are things said that are like drawn swords that pierce, mutilate, and sever. Let us see how our Scripture this morning helps us in dealing with our critics.
We see the attack.
“Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud.” Scorners reject the principles and beliefs of those that they hold in contempt. An example of a proud scorner is Shimei in 2 Samuel 16:5-8. Shimei came out to David when David was at a low point in his life, cursed him, and threw stones at him. Like David, scorners attack us for what we believe, how we behave, and to Whom we belong. Like the psalmist, criticism can fill our soul with misery, grief, and feeling overwhelmed. The words of those who are in contempt of us hurt us and leave us feeling devastated.
We see the action.
“Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens.” When we are being unmercifully criticized, there is only one course of action to take that helps us. We must lift our eyes to God. We must realize that listening to those who scorn us is like placing our souls among lions. We must stop listening with our ears and start looking with our eyes. Look to God when you are being criticized. Look to God when you are hurt and beaten down. Get your eyes on Him Who is holy, just, forgiving, and gives strength. Stop listening to the critic, stop looking at yourself, and look above, from whence cometh your help.
We see the analogy.
“Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he have mercy upon us.” The psalmist uses a wonderful example drawn from everyday Jewish life. He uses the analogy of servants and maidens. First, servants look for the master’s approval. What the critics say might be true, but God is the One we must look to for approval. Seconds, servants are attentive. Servants wait until the master tells them what to do. Don’t mull on the criticism and let it tear you apart. Wait on the Lord and let Him encourage your soul. Third, servants are accommodating. As servants, we must accept criticism as God’s gift in our life so that we can deal with hardship, be patient with our critics, and continue serving our Master with all our heart.
We see the alleviation.
“Until that he have mercy upon us.” God has an appointed time for us when the criticism will cease. God’s mercy on us is when the turmoil of soul winds down. God’s mercy is when we can say like the psalmist, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm119:165). God’s mercy gives us relief and acceptance of our circumstances.
Don’t let criticism destroy your spirit. Fix your eyes on the Lord and on His love for you.
Have a peaceful God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Psalm 96-102