Abraham Lincoln knew what it meant to face criticism. He is quoted as saying, “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.”
Lincoln, against huge opposition, went on to reunite the fractured United States, win the Civil War, and abolish slavery in the US. Had he allowed his critics to defeat him, Lincoln would not have accomplished what he did.
The apostle Peter understood the dangers of unfounded criticism. He wrote, “Having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God” (1 Peter 2:12).
Criticism can consume our lives to the point of emotional paralysis, or we can set our hearts to serve God faithfully undeterred by that criticism and put our God on display. When we do that, we won’t need to answer our critics with words—our lives will say all that is needed.
If we keep doing what is right—
And serving Christ each day,
We need not fear what others think
Nor what the critics say. —D. De Haan
The most powerful testimony is a godly life.