*Get bolder. The temptation is to become timid and avoid controversy, which is what the enemy wants! Jesus warned, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory” (Luke 9:26). Don’t let the enemy’s bullying tactics intimidate you. Speak the truth in love, but speak the truth.
*Give God thanks for persecution. Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:11-12).
Shedding the woe
Years ago I complained to a friend about a nasty anonymous letter I had received. I read it to him, hoping he would feel sorry for me and lash out verbally against the writer. Instead he quipped, “Well, now you’ve got that woe off your back!”
“What do you mean by that?” I asked.
He replied, “Well, Jesus said, ‘Woe to you when all men speak well of you.’ You’ve got that woe off your back and you don’t have to worry about that anymore!”
When we can praise God and be thankful for criticism, then we know we are growing in spiritual maturity. We are also following in the footsteps of prophets like Nehemiah—which is pretty good company.