If I could meet any person from the Bible, it would be my bud, Nehemiah. He's a crazy, strategic leader, full of wisdom and every time I read his book I learn something new. Every. Time. He's wise, compassionate, strong and greatlyopposed. All great leaders are.
Nehemiah 4:1 “When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed.” Poor Nehemiah! He was just minding his own business, doing hard things for his Creator. He is hustling and bustling to finish his selfless humanitarian project (that he is doing out of sheer obedience to God) and BAM...his character is attacked, along with his progress. Isn't it about right to be faced with your worst when you're doing your best? It never fails that resistance springs up the moment you begin taking a few steps toward your destiny. You know you’re in the game when you’re eye to eye with an opponent. When it comes to leadership, if you don’t have a critic, you’re either: 1) not actually leading or 2) not doing something right.
The opinions, thoughts and feelings of others should be weighed before they are counted. The greater responsibilities you obtain, the more critics you will gather. For that reason alone, we must filter and weigh the words that others say to us and about us.
Here are 6 Questions to Weigh Criticism: Who is it coming from? What is their motive? What are their fruits? (Galatians 5:22-23 "the fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control") Do their words bring life or death? (Are they laced with love and grace or anger and bitterness?) Is this a person you’ve intentionally stationed to guard the walls of your heart? Is this person consistent or consistently opinionated?
The Man in the Arena: Theodore Roosevelt It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
YOU get to choose who you listen to. YOU make those choices, but keep in mind, those choices will make you. Are you going to listen to the crowd or the coach? In Nehemiah's case, they kept hurling insults and trying to get him off his project-his calling-his vision.
He answers them in Nehemiah 6:3-4, “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer. He tells them he will not stop what he's doing to entertain their words. He will not settle for a set back. The work is too great to give ear to any voice that intends to cause harm. He's intentionally focused on the person God has created him to be so that he can do the work God created him to do. He MUST abandon the lies of his enemies if he's going to accomplish the will of his father.
We are in the process of training our dog to only chew on the things that are intended for her to chew on. When she puts something in her mouth that she's not supposed to, we say, "Leave it!"
For every criticism and idle word designed to take you away from your purpose: Leave it. Remember, that’s not for you to chew on.