"For I am afraid that when I come to visit you I won't like what I find, and then you won't like my response. I am afraid that I will find quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfishness, backstabbing, gossip, conceit, and disorderly behavior."1
Colonel George Washington Goethals, the man responsible for the completion of the Panama Canal, had stifling problems with the climate and the geography of Central America. Driving rains, incredible heat, and deadly disease were problems that never left his task. But his biggest challenge was the growing criticism back home from those who predicted he'd never finish the project. The voices of the critics appeared to be the biggest problem of all.
Finally, a colleague asked him, "Aren't you going to answer these critics?"
"In time," answered Goethals.
"When?" his partner asked.
"When the canal is finished," replied Goethals.2
Criticism can be very hurtful and discouraging; that is, if we allow it to be. Admittedly, it takes a good amount of healthy self-confidence to be able to withstand the cutting remarks of jealous, lesser people. As long as we are living and working in harmony with God's Word and his will, we can, with God's help, choose not to allow criticism to control us.
I like what one person said, "What you think of me is none of my business!"
So, let's make sure we are not critical, negative, discouraging people. And if people criticize us, let our deeds speak for themselves.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me not to be a critical person. Help me to live in harmony with your will so if I am criticized, I will let my actions and what I do be my answer to my critics. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. 2 Corinthians 12:20 (NLT).
2. The Timothy Report, Copyright (c) 2004 Swan Lake Communications, http://www.timothyreport.com. Cited on andy_chaps-thefunnies.