“Facing Criticism”

BIBLE READING: Nehemiah 6-7
            A few years ago, I received a phone call from a family member asking me if I was okay.  I replied that I was fine and asked how she was doing and after a few friendly pleasantries she expressed her concern of making sure I was okay.  I continued to let her know that I was fine, as a matter of fact that day specifically I had felt well.  I began to worry and ask why she seemed so concerned.  She proceeded to tell me that she had heard that I had been fired that day and she was just making sure I was alright.  I was in shock.  I let her know that to my knowledge I had not been fired.  To be sure, I had called all my elders to make sure that they had not fired me without my knowing about it.  After a few desperate phone calls, I assured her that I had not been fired, that she must have been misinformed.  Someone had mistakenly begun that rumor, but thankfully there was no truth to it.  As Nehemiah reaches the soon completion of the walls of Jerusalem, Sanballat wishes to start an untrue rumor about Nehemiah.   Out of jealousy for Nehemiah’s success, Sanballat claims that the only reason why Nehemiah is doing what he is doing is because Nehemiah desires to be King over the nation.  That rumor simply was not true, as we see Nehemiah emphatically deny it in Nehemiah 6.8.  As we seek to be like Nehemiah and follow what God has called us to do, we will face opposition.  It may come in the form of physical persecution, but it also can come in the form of verbal abuse.  Whoever said “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” was wrong.  Words can hurt us, especially when people say things about us that simply are not true.  We must remain the course and continue to do what needs to be done, regardless of what kind of persecution comes our way.  If we remain faithful, in the end we will be stronger for it.
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