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How you respond to criticism

How you respond to criticism is another test. Jesus said, ‘For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, “He has a demon.” The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, “Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and ‘sinners’”’ (vv.33–34).

Jesus is saying it is almost impossible to avoid criticism. As Aristotle said, ‘The only way to avoid criticism is to do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.’ Whatever you do, some people will find fault, but Jesus was not put off by criticism. He says, ‘But wisdom is proved right by all her children’ (v.35). Perhaps he means that, in the end, wisdom (and Jesus’ actions) will be proved by the results, or as we would say, ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating’ (v.35, MSG). Jesus and John the Baptist were very different but they were both ‘wisdom’s children’.

Nicky Gumbel - UK Vicar, Alpha Course (1955- )

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