The Godly Response To Criticism: A Bible Study

It is difficult for some people to receive criticism, not necessarily because we are proud, but because we are sensitive to what others say about us.

We come to think that people say it because they truly believe it, and if they believe it is because there must indeed be something wrong with us.

That hurts us deeply and causes us insecurity.

So should we believe everything they say about us?

The other day, while reading a bible story, I found a parallel story in which I was able to answer that question.

Our parallel history is within the story of David and Goliath.

When the Philistines are challenging the Israelites to send a single man to fight Goliath, David appears on the scene to bring food to his older brothers.

Arriving and seeing what is going on, the young man asks why no one is going to fight with the giant.

While doing so, his older brother interrupts him with the following words:

Eliab, David’s older brother, heard him talk to the men and became furious with him.

He asked, “What have you come to do here?”

With whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness?

I know you.

You are a daring and ill-intentioned.

I’m sure you’ve come to see the battle!

“And now what did I do?” David protested.

If I’ve barely opened my mouth!

Turning away from his brother, he asked others, who told him the same thing.

1 Samuel 18:28-30

If we look at the story, we can see that this is David’s older brother.

David had lived all his life with him, this brother tells him that he knows him well.

After telling him this, he expresses that he knows David is daring and ill-intentioned.

Think about it for a moment, what it means to us that a person who knows us so much and in whom we fully trust tells us such a thing.

This can have a very strong impact on a person’s mind, more so if it is a young person.

As I crossed paths with this episode, I wondered if this was really David’s way of being and his brother was telling the truth.

If so, David and Goliath’s account would take a completely different perspective.

But then I understood that Eliab’s words had another reason for being.

A few paragraphs earlier in the Bible, the prophet Samuel is going to anoint one of the brothers of David’s family as king.

When Samuel sees the older brother, he thinks that this is the one God has chosen for king, surely Eliab and his father would have thought the same.

Yet God didn’t want it that way.

In the end, after Samuel evaluated all of David’s older brothers, he asked to bring the younger one, David, and anointed him as king.

The reason Eliab was being like this with David, wasn’t because he really had arguments to say that kind of thing.

Instead, the older brother’s words were not true words.

These were intolerant words born of jealousy and envy.

Dear reader, often the negative things people say about us are not a reflection of reality.

But a reflection of toxic emotions and character weaknesses that these people need to learn to deal with.

What David does next is, dismissing those false words, he distances himself from his brother.

While it is true that we cannot consider ourselves perfect and dismiss every opinion about our character as false, we must also be careful to accept as true things that are not.

We live in the midst of wounded people, we ourselves are, full of wrong motivations.

That’s why, for the sake of taking care of our mental health, we must be careful with the ideas we allow into our minds and hearts about ourselves.

Those ideas can be seeds that grow to destroy us.

The best thing we can do when someone speaks to us in this way is to understand that it is not true and to distance ourselves from people who are trying to hurt us.

Likewise, we must be careful to evaluate what we say about others because we may be speaking in the same way that David’s brother did.

I hope these words have been a blessing to your life.

And what do you think? Are there people who have said false things about you? Share it in the comments.

A hug, God bless you.

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