When Critics Attack

People really don’t like it when you tell them no. It’s been something I’ve had to do the last few weeks with varying degrees of success. The critics came out, and I found myself experiencing Scripture again, physically and emotionally.

Here are my methods as a leader in those situations, learned from the procedure, books, the Bible, and one of my mentors. I warn first–it’s a teaching moment, over issues that aren’t trivial. They learn, correct their course, and it’s over. That’s how it usually happens.

If not, then it’s the next step, and one I don’t like. But, Galatians 6:7 does say, “A man reaps what he sows.” It’s the natural consequences of your actions.

Attacked

After this began, I went into the Psalms because I was being attacked. I particularly loved the 35th Psalm. I had a small army coming against me. So I went to the one who can do something about it.

Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me;
fight against those who fight against me.
Take up shield and armor;
arise and come to my aid.
Brandish spear and javelin
against those who pursue me.
Say to me,
“I am your salvation.”
May those who seek my life
be disgraced and put to shame;
may those who plot my ruin
be turned back in dismay.
May they be like chaff before the wind,
with the angel of the Lord driving them away;
may their path be dark and slippery,
with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.
Psalm 35:1-6

Some I had walked beside them in their pain, working with them.

Ruthless witnesses come forward;
they question me on things I know nothing about.
They repay me evil for good
and leave me like one bereaved.

Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth
and humbled myself with fasting.
When my prayers returned to me unanswered,
I went about mourning
as though for my friend or brother.
I bowed my head in grief
as though weeping for my mother.
Psalm 35:11-14

This was how I was repaid.

But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee;
assailants gathered against me without my knowledge.
They slandered me without ceasing.
Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked;
they gnashed their teeth at me.

Psalm 35:15-16

What To Do?

I told a friend, a brother in Christ, who chastised me for not telling him sooner. The reason? So he could pray for me. He echoed what my wife said earlier, along with King David; just stand there and let God fight for me. I was, and it’s still annoying.

While we were speaking, I later learned that I was being falsely accused.

They do not speak peaceably,
but devise false accusations
against those who live quietly in the land.
They sneer at me and say, “Aha! Aha!
With our own eyes we have seen it.”
Lord, you have seen this; do not be silent.
Do not be far from me, Lord.
Awake, and rise to my defense!
Contend for me, my God and Lord.
Vindicate me in your righteousness, Lord my God;
do not let them gloat over me.
Do not let them think, “Aha, just what we wanted!”
or say, “We have swallowed him up.”
May all who gloat over my distress
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who exalt themselves over me
be clothed with shame and disgrace.
May those who delight in my vindication
shout for joy and gladness;
may they always say, “The Lord be exalted,
who delights in the well-being of his servant.”
Psalm 35: 20-27

During this, I did make mistakes in how I handled it and had to face repercussions myself. I was disciplined myself. Proverbs 19:25 in action, “Flog a mocker, and the simple will learn prudence; rebuke the discerning, and they will gain knowledge.”

Get Some Advice

I also sought advice from my mentor again. She reminded me that because I’m in a leadership position, I have a target on me. People are going to shoot at me, and it won’t ever stop. The key is to make sure I always do right, right always wins.

As far as discipline, don’t make it about them personally, but my concern for them. This rolls into the teaching moments by explaining the “why”, and the how will follow.

As far as the attacks, start pouring this thought into people: “If I have a problem with you, I go to you; if they have a problem with me, ask them to come to me.” If they think I was wrong still after discussing it, apologize, and ask how to fix it.

If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.
Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.
Matthew 18:15; 5:25

The lesson?

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord.
Romans 12:17-19

What are your thoughts about this?

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