Saw this quote from Lincoln earlier today and thought I’d pass it along…
“If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how- the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what’s said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”
Wow Abe, should have been a pastor. Here are a few thoughts that I try to apply and perhaps you can get smething out of it as well.
- You will be critisized. If you’re not, you’re not pushing hard enough. Lincoln came to accept this but didn’t allow it to steal his passion.
- He didn’t try to answer all his critics. I believe one of the schemes of the devil is to get us to do this. While we’re “arguing” with someone (whose mind we probably won’t change anyway), it is keeping us from doing what we are called to do.
- He kept a great perspective. Lincoln said he was doing the very best he knew how. When it comes to criticism, as long as you know that you are doing what God has direcetd you to do and it in know way contradicts scripture, then keep doing what you’re doing. You wouldn’t believe some of the attacks we get at United, but I know that we’re doing what God has directed us to do, so I try to keep positive as you should as well when critisized.
- He realized time would tell. Lincoln acknowledged that over time either he or his critics would be proven wrong, so there was no use wasting valuable time now arguing about it. It sort of reminds me of the story found in Acts 5:17-42. Jesus put it this way, “By their fruit you will know them”. Fruit doesn’t spring up over night, so you have to give it time.
One last thing to keep in mind. Not all criticism is bad…sometimes God is using it to get your attention. So always consider the source of the criticism (I’m much more likely to listen to my spouse than a complete stranger) and take at least a few seconds in your devotional time to ask God if there any truth to what is being said. If yes, change it…if no, move on and forget about it.