Read Psalm 26
Featured Verse: Psalm 26:1-3
“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.”
Have you ever been savagely and unfairly criticized? Sure you have! Hurts, don’t it?
Do you remember that old schoolyard prank? A kid walks up to you and asks, “hey, ya want a Hertz Doughnut?” Thinking you’re about to get a glazed cruller, you say, “yeah, man, thanks.” Then he hauls off and slugs you in the arm and says, “Hertz, Dougnut?” Kind of lame, I know, but still, it hurts, don’t it?
That kind of stuff doesn’t stop just because you become an adult. In fact, it’s a little more devious because now you’re not even asked weather you want that “hertz doughnut”.
To be human means to be born in criticism season with a big ol’ bull’s eye on your back. And the higher in leadership you climb, the greater your visibility, the more you accomplish, the uglier and more painful the criticism becomes. And even worse, it is usually unjustified, indefensible, and anonymous. It’s just part of the territory—and it really hurts, don’t it?
Apparently David was experiencing a “Hertz Doughnut” when he wrote this psalm. He was facing some tough criticism, which was bothering him a great deal. And there wasn’t a whole lot he could do about it, except take it to God—which is always the best thing to do, by the way—and there lift his innocence and integrity before the only Critic who really counts.
You will notice in this psalm that David doesn’t claim perfection—which is a good thing, since he was far from it. If he were that deluded about the true condition of his life, inviting Divine scrutiny (“test me…try me…examine me…” v.2) would have been the worst thing to do in that moment. David was not under the illusion that he was perfect, but he could offer an innocent heart before the Lord; he could point to the integrity of his way and call upon God to vindicate him before his human critics.
To be anything and do anything means 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 nobody will give your critic much credence—especially God.
And the next time the critic is getting the best of you, remember that you answer to the One who knows your heart, and if you can lift a life of innocence and integrity before him, feel free to call out to him for his vindication.
Divine vindication is always the sweetest revenge you can dish out to your critic!
“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.”