In last week’s column, we began a discussion about unjust criticism and how it affects those on the receiving end of the matter. We listed six good points out of the dozen originally written on the subject. Today, we are going to cover the last half a dozen, trusting that they will help many who are facing this type of situation on a daily basis either in a relationship within the home, at school, at work, or in relationships with friends.
1. Unjust critics do not obey God’s clear command to “go to thy brother.” Step one when you have a problem with another person is to go to them personally. Get the truth from the source. At some point, a public rebuke is biblical and necessary, but an unjust critic just wants to rush his agenda to market quickly — public rebuke is his only playing card. The biblical process is not important because honest understanding or biblical resolution is really not the goal. The goal is the fulfillment of his pride, jealousy and envy. The goal is aggression and vehemence, often standing in the name of defending the truth or the faith or the church’s belief.
2. Unjust critics often try to draw you into a fight. They like drama, like fifth-grade girls. They like to be the ones who exposed the fault. They live in a mode of self-righteous examination of other brothers and sisters. They seem to have never read Matthew 7:3, 4: “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, let me pull out the mote out of thine eye, and behold, a beam is in thine own eye?”
3. Unjust critics try to bait you to speak so they can turn your words against you. One of the worst things you can do with an unjust critic is enter the debate with them. Because truth is not the goal and resolution is not desired outcome. They make the rules and change them at will. It’s their game. And your words or attempts to answer will merely be twisted and turned against you. An unjust critic will always have you saying what you didn’t say or didn’t intend.
4. Unjust critics desire to provoke, not resolve. We’ve touched on this, but it is a huge part of the problem. Problems and disagreements should be resolved between Christian brothers and sisters. Jesus instructed us to handle criticism and problems privately at first. After many, many years of ministry experience with this philosophy, I can tell you that 99 percent of the time, the problem is resolved at that point. It’s a wonderful thing. But resolution removes the unjust critic’s shot at a larger conflict and broader strife. It kills the game before it begins. Point is, you can’t please an unjust critic, no matter what you do. So don’t waste your time trying.
5. Unjust critics hide themselves in a shroud of false humility. They insert scriptural descriptives and self-effacing terminology to let you know how sincere they are. Those words read and sound well, and readers and hearers tend to forget that actions completely betray them. An unjust critic’s behavior far outweighs disingenuous humility and feigned concern.
6. Unjust critics say what they don’t do, then do it. They incorporate an odd kind of “double-speak,” but it works for the unjust critic’s crowd. For instance, “I’m not attacking. …” And then, BOOM, an attack is launched. But it’s not really, because the critic said it wasn’t. “I’m just an humble sinner saved by grace, trying to do God’s work in His way,” and then, BOOM, a self-proclaimed authority over whatever is in question. “I would never want to usurp the pastor’s authority,” or “tell you or anyone else how to run the church programs, but …” and then, BOOM, out of nowhere comes the hit. “I need to tell you how wrong your pastor (or you or your church) is about …” Watch out for this tactic with unjust critics. God speaks to individual’s hearts. If He wants you to teach a certain class and calls you to do it, do not ever let another human being dissuade you and hit you with a big BOOM!
Don’t play the game. Never enter into an argument with an unjust critic. Walk away. The critic wants the fight. In fact, he demands a fight. He doesn’t want the solution. Find Christ-like Christians — Christians who live and minister with the heart of a shepherd and the love of the dear Savior. Find Christians who encourage, build, edify and strengthen their brothers and sisters. Find Christians with evident fruit — and not just frustrations over failed plans and lives. And don’t get caught up in the discouragement ministry of unjust critics. Most of all, don’t get discouraged by unjust critics when you become the subject of their malice.
Unjust critics have always been around. God uses them to remind us all “what not to become.” If you are being unjustly criticized, be encouraged. Be challenged. Let God work. Let your life and work speak for itself.
It’s very difficult for anyone to argue with the truth and the evident fruits of righteousness and God’s blessings on a life.
Realizing that this is Easter weekend, may I wish a Happy Easter to each of our readers and remind you that the truth of the resurrection is our hope for all eternity. If you and your family would like to enjoy an interesting and unique experience, join us on Bolivar Peninsula for Easter Sunday Morning Sunrise Service. We will be meeting at historic Fort Travis on the West end of the peninsula at 6 a.m. for a delightful service with congregational and special music, a brief message, and a picnic style breakfast. We will gather at Bunker 236, a historic World War I piece of our Texas history with a view of the Gulf of Mexico, Galveston in the distance, the ship channel and the bay. Please bring your lawn chair, and all are welcome.
Brenda Cannon Henley is an award-winning journalist and writer living on the Southeast Texas Gulf Coast. Having enjoyed more than four decades in ministry, Brenda shares her columns with our readers and works with churches and faith-based programs nationwide. She can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com.