Handling the Naysayers2
We all have them…naysayers who question our motives and our abilities. Doubting you seems to be their full-time job. As your biggest critic, they’re constantly watching to see if you will fail.
These people are all around us. If you went to college, you might have had a professor who doubted whether you belonged there. If you came to Christ as an adult, I’m sure some friends said, “It won’t last.” If you manage people, you know what it’s like for people to be skeptical about your decisions.
So how do we move forward and accomplish God’s plan for our lives…while not isolating the people who don’t believe our ideas…or even in us? The Bible shows us how.
First, remember that although your critics may be good people who care about you, they are not God. Don’t treat naysayer’s opinions like they’re from God.
I love the way The Message puts Proverbs 29:25. It’s very plain…
The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.
– Proverbs 29:25 (MSG)
Putting too much trust in another person’s opinion can disable your decision-making abilities. In fact, you can become addicted to the approval of others. What’s the cure? Trusting God. You begin by allowing God to become bigger in your life. The larger he grows, the more people’s opinions shrink.
Next, never attack your naysayers.
Leave the situation in God’s hands. You are most like Jesus when you remain silent under attack. Peter noticed how Jesus responded and shared it with the church…
Although he was abused, he never tried to get even. And when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he had faith in God, who judges fairly.
– 1 Peter 2:23 (CEV)
Proverbs tell us…
It is foolish to speak scornfully of others. If you are smart, you will keep quiet.
– Proverbs 11:12 (GNT)
You may have heard the old saying, “Never wrestle with a pig. You’ll get filthy, and only the pig will enjoy it.” Any fool can criticize and tear people down. Smart people know how to bite their tongue.
Finally, focus on God and his promises.
Don’t get distracted by negativity that comes your way. The story of Nehemiah’s struggle to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem is a good example.
Babylonians had overrun Jerusalem seventy years earlier. The whole place lay in ruins. Decades later Nehemiah got a bold idea…a God idea. He led a team of people to rebuild the city. They started with the walls.
Opposition rose immediately. Enemies tried every trick they could think of to stall or stop progress. When asked to stop building and come negotiate, Nehemiah responded…
“I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop?”
– Nehemiah 6:3 (NVL)
Every opportunity from God comes with opposition. Don’t’ be surprised when this happens. God uses opposition to test, refine and prepare you for what’s ahead. Embrace it. Stay focused on the promise God’s given you.
What voices are you giving too much power in your life? Whose approval matters more to you than God’s? Remember, many are not bad people. They’re just mistaken. God is using them to refine you.
Let him accomplish his purposes through you as you continue to pursue his promise.