In Georgia Methodism’s Wesleyan Christian Advocate, James R. Webb passes on a story he heard in Savannah about a well-known lady of that coastal city who invited quite a few guests to dinner. As the main dish, she prepared a huge crab salad. Just before her guests were due to arrive, she set the crab salad on the dining table. Upon entering the room the next time, she was horrified to discover the family cat engrossed in feasting on crab salad. Jerking him away, she was heartsick to realize that she had no time to remake the salad before her guests arrived. Throwing the cat outside from the house, she raced back to carefully scoop away the meat around the cat’s feeding place. Smoothing it out, she resolved not to divulge her secret to the guests.
Duly arriving and beginning the meal, the guests dined heavily on the delicious crab salad. All went well until she glanced out the kitchen window after dinner. Seeing her cat stretched out stiffly on the lawn, she felt her heart sink. Rushing outside, she checked to make sure, and he was dead. Groaning to herself she thought, “Oh no, it’s that crab salad! It has poisoned my cat. All of my guests have eaten it and so have I! What’s next? I have no choice but to tell my guests the whole story!”
Rushing back into the living room, she divulged her little secret. As they all rushed to the hospital where the doctors quickly pumped their stomachs, they all appeared rather nauseated and queasy. After the excitement died down somewhat, the next day one of the nearby neighbors dropped by to confess, “I have an apology to make. As I was pulling into my driveway last night, your cat ran out in front of my car! I ran over it and killed him! Please forgive me! I’m awfully sorry!!” Holding back her urge to kill, she managed to mumble, “So am I!”
How often do we assume that a thing is a certain way only to find out that we were wrong? It is important to get the facts before jumping to some conclusion. Recently we have seen many cases in the news with politicians, clergymen, and top officials assuming a matter to be one way, but when the facts came out, they were so wrong. Being in the church all of my life, I have experienced the ugly destructive power of assuming. I have seen families splinter when a spouse assumed that the worst was going on. Many churches have died through the heavy weight of a wrong assumption.
When I was a young preacher, there were times that I would walk into a bar and hang out for 30 minutes or so. I knew that if a fellow Christian saw me they would assume that I was doing a no no; because, all the signs indicated that I was failing as a Christian. But, my motive was to sit down by a lonely person and begin to talk to them about the Lord and His love for them. After ordering a soda, I would scan the floor and find the one person whom I felt was ready to listen. Sitting next to them I would break the ice. For more info you can visit us at www.JoyChristianMinistries.com
The story is told of an old man whose grandson rode a donkey while they were traveling from city to city. The man heard some people saying, “Would you look at that old man suffering on his feet while that strong young boy is totally capable of walking.” So, then the old man got on the donkey while the boy walked. And he heard some people saying, “Would you look at that! A healthy man is making that poor young boy walk. Can you believe it?”
So the man and the boy both rode the donkey and people starting saying, “Would you look at those heavy brutes making that poor donkey suffer.” So they both got off and walked until they heard some people cry, “Would you look at the waste! A perfectly good donkey is not being used.” Finally, the scene shifts and we see the boy walking and the old man carrying the donkey.
No matter what you do, somebody will criticize it! If you try and please everyone you will go absolutely insane. I like what Theodore Roosevelt was supposed to have said: “It’s not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbles or how the doer of deeds might have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat, dust, and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
The only perfect and sinless man on the planet was Jesus and people still found fault to criticize Him. But, He never caved in to their bad-mouthing or hurtful comments. He kept His focus and diligently pressed toward His goal. What was His secret? He placed His confidence in God His Father and He knew that He was pleasing Him.
There are four keys I want to share with you to help you keep your head up high. (1) Know that you will always be in line for criticism. You can’t please everyone so don’t even try. (2) Don’t allow criticism to impair your self-esteem or destiny. Safeguard your heart by asking the Lord to help you stay in control of your thoughts and emotions. (3) Diligently read the Word of God; it will build your confidence and keep you anchored when hurtful remarks are being fired at you. (4) If you decide to make a change let it be a decision that you have formed from a clear vantage point.
Never make important decisions when you are at a low ebb or even experiencing an emotional high. Usually the outcome will be disappointing. Be emotionally level, always, when making an important decision. You want to think clearly, be patient, and pray before signing your name on the dotted line. It is critical to have deep peace. God wants to help you make the right decisions so be bold to ask Him for help. For more info you can visit us at www.JoyChristianMinistries.com
Pastor J.C. Myers, III
Pastor J.C. founded Joy Christian Ministries in 1992. He was Sr. Pastor at Joy Christian Ministries in West Sacramento, California from 1992-2016. He was succeeded by his 2nd son, Pastor Brandon Myers who had been under his father's ministry and teaching for 39 years.