April 9, 2016
READ: Mark 2:23-28
Look, why are they breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath? (v.24).
During the closing seconds of an American football game, the referee had to make a very difficult, game— deciding call. His decision resulted in one team winning and the other facing the bitter sting of a loss. Furious fans from the losing team ridiculed and threatened the ref for days and weeks. In time he experienced panic attacks and even considered suicide. Doctors diagnosed his condition as post—traumatic stress disorder.
Some of us can relate to this much—maligned referee. We live with a sense of defeat, fueled by the harsh disapproval of others. Thankfully, we can rely on Jesus to help us conquer the power of negative criticism.
Jesus defended His disciples when the Pharisees criticized their behavior. One Sabbath, Jesus’ disciples ate some heads of grain they had found growing in a grain field. The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Look, why are they breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?” (Mark 2:24). Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of the people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath” (v.27).
On another occasion, He defended a woman who had been involved in adultery. The Pharisees paraded her sin openly, wanting to know if they should stone her. Jesus ended their antics by saying, “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (John 8:7). The accusers all walked away.
No matter what type of criticism we may face, Jesus never joins in with people who fling careless or calculated remarks. He always stands up for us—even when we wrestle with sin (1 John 2:1). Jesus cares for us and wants to help us, and His love doesn’t depend on a perfect performance of the Christian life.
—Jennifer Benson Schuldt
365-day-plan: 2 Samuel 15:1-37
Read Galatians 2:11—13 to see how fear of criticism created a problem for Peter. Look up Romans 14:3 to see the root of condemnation for some in the early church.
Is all criticism destructive? What happens when someone lovingly points out a shortcoming? Read Proverbs 15:31 for some insight on this topic.