What should we make of criticism?
As a Christian we expect there to be opposition from the Enemy but we are often unprepared when it arrives through the voices of our friends, family and companions. Unlike Jesus who was quick to detect Satan’s voice when Peter told Him that He wouldn’t suffer and die (Mark 8:33), we often hear Satan’s voice coming though the words of our friends, and get affected by those words.
I believe there are a few clues that the Scriptures have revealed to us so that we can detect if the criticism coming to us is from God or not.
Firstly, when Jesus and Paul offered positive criticism they always introduced positive words before they offered words of advice. For example Rev. 2:12-16 when Jesus addressed the church in Pergamum He praised them for various actions they had taken before He added, “Nevertheless, I have a few things against you”. Any criticism, therefore, that comes to you that isn’t cushioned with a positive introduction should be viewed suspiciously.
Secondly, if the criticism results in thwarting the expansion of Jesus’ kingdom, then it should be disregarded. Peter was attempting, through well-meaning words, to block Jesus’ course to Calvary and the salvation of the world. If the criticism demoralises you and what you are doing for Jesus, you can be assured that it wasn’t godly wisdom that was being presented to you.
Thirdly, criticism can take the form of a curse. It can declare ominous words about what you are doing and your future. Balaam was sent to curse Israel (Num. 22) so that Moab could fight them and drive them out of Moabite lands. Make no mistake about it – criticism and curses are lethal weapons of the Enemy.
What is the remedy for the person who is being buffeted by criticisms and curses?
First and foremost, turn to God. He is the One who will shelter and deliver you from the Enemy. If you love God with all your heart, and keep His praises on your lips, He will bless you. Look what happened in the case of Balaam: “However, the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam but turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loves you” (Deut. 23:5 NIV).
Secondly, bind those criticisms and curses: "Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 18:18 NIV). Simply say to the Enemy’s words that you bind them in the name of Jesus.
And the end result after you take these actions? “Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest” (Prov. 26:2 NIV).
Go forward today free of any criticism, evil words and curses and live your life joyfully under the Light of Him who loves you and gave Himself for you.