How to deal with negative critics

… and avoid discouragement

To illustrate this, allow me to use the story of the tiny frog. It goes like this:

Once upon a time, a team of tiny frogs organized a competition aiming at reaching the top of a tower. When they were ready, a massive crowd of frogs assembled to watch the race.

And the race started. Not a single frog in the spectating crowd believed that the competitors would reach the top; it was a tall tower! 

The crowd increased as well as the noise. One frog yelled after another, “This is too difficult!.’’ “No one will ever make it to the top.” “There isn’t a chance that they will succeed. The tower is too high!” They continued with the noise.

The tiny frogs disengaged one by one and fell down the tower. Still, there was a team of determined frogs that climbed higher and higher. But the crowd yelled the more.

“This is too difficult! No one will make it!”

Discouraged and persuaded by the negative noises, more of these tiny frogs collapsed and fell off the tower. Several frogs who were still climbing cried in pain and ultimately gave up. Some frogs, exhausted and bruised, heard the groans of their colleagues and subsequently resigned too.

Yet, despite all this, one tiny frog persisted. He climbed, and climbed… This tiny frog seemed to be endowed with some esoteric strength that enabled him to move forward despite others quitting. The crowd wondered why this particular frog remained when others were falling.

By now, all the tiny frogs had either collapsed or given up — except for that particular tiny frog. The crowd continued to yell at it:

“This is too difficult!’’ “You will never make it to the top!” “Not a likelihood that you will succeed. The tower is too high!”

But for some reason, that tiny frog climbed further and further, seemingly undaunted. Finally, he reached the pinnacle of the tower. He had touched the finish line!

All the tiny frogs were astonished at how this one tiny frog managed to make it to the top. They thronged around him, in a bid to know his secret.

To their further astonishment, it turned out that he was deaf.

We can glean a great lesson from this story. Sometimes when we’re pursuing our goals, or when we start a new thing — project, studies, business, relationship … we tend to face discouragement from prophets of doom. They will yell at us incessantly …

“No, you cannot accomplish this!” “Oh, this isn’t possible!” “My friend, are you crazy? You are never going to succeed.”

Sometimes, we may have climbed our mountain halfway but we face brutal critics who pull us down to the very bottom; and cut our feet so we can’t make any forward progress.

“Who do you think you are?” “Wait until you mature.” “You’re too old for this.” “You don’t have the right skills to do this.” “No one has ever done this. Why don’t you just stop.”

How do you react to such criticism? Do you become miserable and discredit yourself wondering if you made a wrong choice and eventually give up? Or maybe persist but with less enthusiasm, grit, perseverance, faith …  

Maybe you respond to your naysayers by trying to fight for your space and defend your decision and individuality. Maybe you yell back at them trying to preserve your dignity as a human being.

But, this is not the way to go. The way to go is to turn a deaf ear to the naysayers, negative critics, and the noisy crowd — these prophets of doom.  Simply ignore their noise.

Even Jesus didn’t open His mouth to answer His negative critics. He chose to fulfil the purpose for which He was sent undeterred by naysayers.

“He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.”

Isaiah 53:7–8.

What if you turn a deaf ear when people tell you that you can’t make it? What if you be deaf when people try to pull you down? What if you turn a deaf ear when people give you unconstructive comments?

I want you to know that, when you give the slightest audience to naysayers or spend a fraction of a second, a minute, or an hour thinking about them, you take away valuable time from working on your purpose.

When you use some fraction of energy replying to or arguing with the naysayers, or even feeling bad about the negative comments of negative critics, that’s valuable energy taken away from fulfilling your purpose. You don’t need to spend your valuable energy fighting unnecessary battles.

Remember that you’re the sole owner of your race. It doesn’t belong to the spectators. It’s your responsibility to manage your choices and purpose. Focus on your vision and goals. Keep your gaze on the prize. Stay ignorant of the negative noise. Don’t allow sceptics to kill you alive so you won’t accomplish your purpose.

When they begin seeing things materialising, they’ll start reducing their noise. When they witness your success, they’ll shut their mouths and walk away, one after the other.  

And when you have crossed the finish line, you will open your mouth and glorify God as you testify. You’ll have to play deaf no more because there are no naysayers around you anymore. Furthermore, your former pessimists may join, cheer you up and support you when they realize that you’ve won the race and acquired the prize.

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”

1 Corinthians 9:24–27.

Keep the faith.

We will cross over to the next place

Christian faith is not the absence of troubles, trials and tribulations, it is the presence of God in the life of a believer.

When Jesus is in us and we’re in Him, we must triumph over all the ravenous storms and winds of life when they come.

Jesus teaches about putting our faith in Him but not focusing on the storms and winds of life that can cause fear in us so we won’t move ahead.

“Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

Mark 4:39–41.

Believers in Jesus must know that their faith is not tested in the still waters and good days, it is tested in storms and bad days.

When the storms and winds of life beat the boat the most, it is time to believe and trust Jesus the more.

This is because when we’re together with Emmanuel (God with us) in the same boat, we’re assured of crossing over to the other side; we must reach the finish line triumphantly.

Where is your faith amid the storms of this world?

“O Lord God of hosts, Who is mighty like You, O Lord? Your faithfulness also surrounds You. You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, You still them.”

Psalm 89:8–9.

Keep the faith!

Why salvation is the greatest miracle

I am amazed at how people regardless of their political orientation, religious affiliation, or geographical region… are running from church to church, from this place to that place in pursuit of miracles.

I am still amazed at the cost they’re paying in terms of time, energy and financial resources in the quest for these miracles.

Miracles have an expiry date though. They can’t take one beyond the grave unless they’re saved. In the end, non-believers in Jesus will resurrect to eternal condemnation (which is the second death) regardless of whether they experienced miracles or not when they were alive. I’m not negating the necessity of miracles anyway.

But there is something greater than miracles, (the mother of all miracles) which is salvation. Salvation doesn’t have an expiry date because if you’re born again and you die in the Lord you’ll in the end resurrect to everlasting life.

I want to say that if you’re saved (a believer in Jesus Christ) you are a product of the greatest miracle that has ever happened to you. A miracle of being born again into new life and after you die, resurrecting to immortality.

Jesus said,

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”

John 14:12.

If you tell somebody about Jesus and they get saved, you’ve already performed a greater miracle than the miracles people are chasing after. You have no idea what other miracles could be born after the person you have shared the Gospel with surrenders their life to Jesus.

There is so much treasure in salvation. Most of the miracles people are chasing after are packaged in salvation.

Yet, in the same manner, as the people are pursuing miracles, and receiving them, they can receive salvation. This is because salvation like miracles is for all people regardless of their ethnicity, geographical location, social standings, religion etc.

The Bible in Titus 2 says,

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearance of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”

Titus 2:11–14.

Tell somebody about Jesus today. You never know what miracles will happen to you and that person, but God’s grace is available for you.

“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”

1 Corinthians 1:21.

God bless you more!

Brokenness is the way to perfect love

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love”

1 John 4:18.

Fear diverts us from the most powerful thing in life. Love. It hinders us from giving ourselves to the people we love. It prevents us from receiving the people who have opened themselves to us.

We get betrayed all the time. Annoyed. Hurt. Disappointed. Humiliated. Heartbroken… By close friends. By the people we love and trust the most. By the people we open our hearts to.

How do you react to such treatments? Does your heart recoil onto itself in fear and hide so far so that you cannot even “hear” its beats. Does it close its doors from the outside world in self-protection so it doesn’t want to notice; so it doesn’t want to be noticed?

This isn’t the route to take. This way, you become an alive person outside, but a dead person inside.

Dead because, despite the survival boundaries and defence tactics you have developed for yourself, your heart is still bleeding in pain.

Your heart is still carrying the burden of your wound around with you and it is weighing you down so you can’t move forward. Your heart is still battling deep-seated bitterness and this is affecting the way you live.

Because like a shadow, your heart follows you wherever you go, fearful as it is.

Because you’re still suffering from the fear of not being with someone you would like to be with.

We can not live the abundant life Jesus brought us by running away from the ones we love. There is nowhere to run to; there is no one to run to.

It is only God’s love, embodied in Jesus Christ that can make us truly, purely and perfectly love. When we love Him with all our hearts, souls and minds.

Then we allow His love to flow inside us. When we’re full of this love to the extent that we experience an overflow, then love flows outside, into the lives of others.

When God’s love breaks us, love flows without force. Now we start to see ourselves clearly, the deeper truth in us. Not with our human senses, but with God’s eyes. We realize that we are all humans. Weak. Vulnerable. Fallible. Frail. Empty. Broken…

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, and irredeemable.”

C.S. Lewis.

Remember how Jesus was humiliated. Beaten. Spat on. Stripped. Yet, He stood there. Naked. Broken. Bleeding. Fearless. He said nothing; He did nothing.

He didn’t defend himself. He didn’t curse them. But He prayed for them, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing”

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”

Isaiah 53:7.

This is the way to go. To allow ourselves to be open. To be vulnerable. To be broken the more. Broken by God’s love so He can mend our broken hearts. This is the way to grow.

The way to heal is to forgive and let go. It is to be reconciled. The way to freedom is to allow Jesus to collect the broken pieces of your heart and fix them together.

You can not heal by trying to fix with your tactics. Jesus knows how to do it because He was also broken, but He overcame it.

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

Isaiah 53:4-5.

Thank you for reading. God bless you more.