Quiet Your Critics
We all have our critics. The battle might be inside your mind, with your own voice beating you down. Or, it could be the memory of someone’s hurtful words echoing in your ears. Perhaps the battle is outside or maybe even quite public. Some voice just won’t let you go. The roar of our critics’ opinions of us is deafening.
There is an amazing, wonderful miracle in the life of Jesus that shows us how to drown out our critics and opens the path to freedom, healing, and a strong, effective testimony. While CRITICS MAY DISTORT YOUR SIGHT, JESUS RESTORES YOUR SIGHT.
In Luke 18, as Jesus and His followers approached Jericho, a blind man named Bartimaeus was sitting on the side of the road, begging. When he learned Jesus was passing by, he began to shout, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” This was not the helpless cry of a beggar; this was a faith-filled shout by one who had chosen to trust Jesus was who He said He was.
According to Luke’s account, those who led the way spoke sharply to Bartimaeus. Mark adds the detail that there were “many” who “rebuked” him. The word means to denounce and implies threat. These were not polite, library “shushes” Bartimaeus was hearing. They were harsh, dismissive criticisms.
Do you really believe Jesus wants to waste His time with the likes of you?
You miserable wretch. You’re a drain on society. Why don’t you go away?
Maybe your critic’s voice is subtler:
You’ll never be good enough.
You’ll never measure up. Look at you. How can God ever do anything in your life?
At this moment, Bartimaeus had a choice. He could let the critics’ voices distort; he could let them win. Or, he could raise his own voice with a counter message. According to Luke, Bartimaeus shouted even louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
The beauty of this story is not just Bartimaeus’ persistence; it's his message. He didn’t answer his critics. He didn’t angrily defend his rights. He didn’t lash out at those who were attempting to silence him. Instead, his response was a singular focus on Jesus.
Bartimaeus’ need drove his desperation, but his faith drove this persistence.
Persistent crying out of the truth of who Jesus is will bring His response. I love Bartimaeus. He didn't sticking his fingers in his ears and sing, “This isn’t happening. I can’t hear you.” He simply shouted the truth about His Jesus. He didn't scream frustration-fueled venom at his critics. He shouted the truth about His Jesus.
Jesus stopped and ordered Bartimaeus be brought to Him, thus rebuking those who were trying to silence the blind man. I love it when Jesus stops. It is a statement of value. After a brief exchange, Jesus healed Bartimaeus’ eyes. We’d like to imagine his first sight being the face of Jesus, but Bartimaeus had already seen Jesus long before. Now that he was healed, his physical sight matched his faith and his experience matched his hope.
Craig Groeschel says, “The quickest way to forget what God says about you is to become obsessed with what others think about you.” Bartimaeus teaches us to shout the truth of who Jesus is over the top of our critics’ lies.
When they accuse, “Look at you…” recall “In Christ, I am forgiven.”
When they yell, “You’re worthless,” remind yourself, “I am bought with a price, with the precious blood of Jesus. I am valuable.”
When they sneer, “You’re a failure,” shout the truth that you are “accepted in the Beloved.”
Let Jesus, your faith in Him, drive your persistence. Look to Him! Shout the truth about Him. He is who He says He is and will have mercy.
Walk WITH Jesus,