When Criticism Leaves A Mark
Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have led a blameless life;
I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;
for your love is ever before me,
and I walk continually in your truth.
Go Deep: Have you ever been savagely and unfairly criticized? Sure you have! It really hurts, doesn’t it? Nothing leaves a mark quite like taking a punch from the critic.
No one is immune to the critic’s blows, by the way. To be human means to be born in criticism season with a big ol’ bull’s eye on your back. And the greater your visibility in life, the higher in leadership you climb, the more you accomplish or even attempt to accomplish, the uglier and more devastating criticism becomes. Even worse, criticism is usually unjustified, indefensible, and often it is anonymous. Being the target of a critic just comes with the territory.
Apparently King David was facing some tough criticism, and understandably, it was bothering him a great deal. But there wasn’t a whole lot he could do about it, except take it to God—which, you know, is always the best thing to do with criticism. David went before the Lord and there lifted his innocence and integrity before the only Critic who really counts.
You will notice in this psalm that David doesn’t claim perfection as he pours out his heart before God. He was far from perfect, so inviting Divine scrutiny (“test me…try me…examine me…” Psalm 26:2) would have been the worst thing David could have done at that moment if he thought his perfection would impress God. No, it was not a perfect life, it was a blameless life and an innocent heart that he placed before the Lord.
Blameless…innocent…David? Are we talking about the same guy? Yes, this deeply flawed man could point to the integrity of his ways (his whole-heartedness before God), and that was what allowed him to request God’s vindication before his human critics.
Here’s the deal: To be anything and do anything in life is to invite criticism. It is just one of the harsh and unpleasant realities of life, so expect folks to criticize you. But like David, so live your life in innocence and integrity that even though you are far from perfect, nobody will give your critic much credence—especially God.
And the next time the critic is getting the best of you, just remember that you answer to the One who knows your heart. If you can lift a life of innocence and integrity before him, then feel free to call out to him for his vindication.
Divine vindication is always the sweetest revenge you can dish out to your critic!
Just Saying… C.S. Lewis said, “God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them.”