But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king?
Nehemiah quickly learned that criticism comes if you do anything for God. Nehemiah’s two greatest critics were Sanballat and Tobiah. These men attacked and criticized, but Nehemiah never let their actions stop him from building the wall. Nehemiah understood that the work he was doing was greater than responding to the criticism that came. He understood that the accomplishments of faith works are the greatest condemnation of criticism.
You will find that criticism will come if you do anything for God. No, criticism is not easy to take, but God has given you the wherewithal to take it. Inside every person is a desire for people to be as happy as we are with what God is doing through our lives; however, you will find that jealous, lazy, and evil people will all start shooting their arrows of criticism to get you to stop doing what brought God’s miraculous power on your life. Dealing with criticism is essential if you are going to make it to the end of life and still serve God. Let me share several things you need to do when the arrows of criticism fly your way.
First, never respond to criticism. Proverbs 26:4 says, Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. The critics want you to respond because responding takes you away from what you are doing. You must realize that you don't have time to respond because the work you are doing is more important than defending yourself against criticism. You must make it your policy never to respond to the critic with criticism because that makes you no different from the critic.
Second, pray when criticism comes. Nobody will understand your situation better than God, and casting your frustrations and concerns on God will do more than complaining about the criticism. Nehemiah often prayed after the criticism came, and that is how he learned to deal with it. Prayer will help you to deal with criticism when it comes.
Third, realize the greatness of your work. Nehemiah would not come down from the wall because he was doing a great work. You are doing a great work, so to come down from your work to respond to criticism only satisfies the critic and stops the great work from going forward. Always remember that any time you stop from the great work that God is doing through your life to respond to criticism is time you can never take back and time that God is not working through you.
Fourth, keep doing what brought the criticism. If what you are doing brings criticism, then to continue doing the work is what continues God’s blessings. Don’t stop soul winning, running the buses, teaching Sunday school classes, and building God’s church when criticism comes, because these things are what will silence the critic when God’s blessings continue in your life.
Fifth, let God defend you against criticism. Nehemiah understood that God’s answer to criticism is the greatest answer to criticism, so let God answer for you because He knows how to silence the critics. The greatest way God will silence the critics in your life is by continuing to do a great work through you. The critic will look like a fool when God accomplishes great works through your life.