Naysayers. We all have to deal with them from time to time. You know who I’m talking about – the critics, the doubters, the skeptics. Those who seem to take delight in shooting down your ideas and raining on your parade. As Christians, how should we respond when faced with naysayers? What does God’s Word have to say about dealing with negative people who are quick to criticize and slow to encourage?
In this comprehensive blog post, we’ll explore what the Bible teaches about naysayers and how we can stand firm in our faith despite discouraging words from others. We’ll look at real-life examples of naysayers in the Bible, examine scriptures that address this issue, and consider practical ways to overcome negativity. My prayer is that this post will equip and encourage you to stay strong when naysayers try to steal your joy and shake your confidence in the promises of God.
- Naysayers have been around since biblical times – Moses, Nehemiah, and Paul all faced critics and opposition.
- God’s Word warns us that naysayers will be a fact of life – we should not be surprised by negative people.
- How we respond to naysayers reveals a lot about our spiritual maturity. The Bible calls us to respond with grace, patience, and perseverance.
- God can use critics and doubtful people to sharpen and refine our plans if we listen humbly.
- Our confidence should be in God’s approval alone – not fickle human opinion.
- By standing firm and staying focused on God’s affirmation, we can avoid discouragement.
- The Holy Spirit produces fruit in our lives that helps us face naysayers with confidence – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Naysayers Are Nothing New
From the biblical record, we see clearly that naysayers have been around since ancient times. Moses faced his share of critics and complaining even after God used him to part the Red Sea! The Israelites constantly grumbled and doubted Moses’ leadership. But time after time, God proved faithful to His promises.
Nehemiah also had to overcome intense opposition and mockery as he led the project to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls. Despite insults, false rumors, and even threats of violence, Nehemiah persevered in the work God called him to do, constantly praying for strength to carry on (Nehemiah 4:9).
The New Testament apostles faced skepticism as they spread the gospel of Christ. In Acts 17, the converts in Thessalonica complained that Paul was causing trouble everywhere he went. This was not exactly a ringing endorsement! And let’s not forget the religious leaders who continually looked for ways to undermine and discredit Jesus himself.
From the earliest days of biblical history, negativity and naysayers have tried to derail God’s plans. So we should not be surprised that cynics and critics still exist today. As the saying goes, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Knowing this can help us prepare ourselves mentally and spiritually to handle opposition when it comes.
God Warns Us to Expect Naysayers
Since naysayers will likely be part of life this side of heaven, God in His wisdom prepares us for this reality in Scripture. Consider these examples:
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. (2 Timothy 4:3)
Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. (Luke 6:22)
If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. (John 15:18)
Not exactly warm fuzzy thoughts! But Jesus made sure to warn his disciples that the world would reject and persecute them – just as it rejected him.
The apostle Paul also had some stern warnings about naysayers who would try to derail the faith of believers:
Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. (Philippians 3:2)
Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. (Galatians 5:2)
Strong language! Paul was dealing with dangerous people who contradicted the gospel message and tried to lead the church astray. He named these detractors as mutilators and evildoers to emphasize how serious their opposition was.
While most modern day critics may not be as extreme, these verses demonstrate that unfair criticism and attacks on our faith are inevitable. But since God warns us about naysayers in advance, we can be mentally prepared. We don’t need to be blindsided.
Our Response Reveals Our Maturity
Now that we know to expect opposition, the next critical question is how we respond to naysayers and critics. Do we lash out and retaliate? Do we become discouraged and depressed? Or do we follow the biblical model and react with grace and steadfastness? Our response often reveals our level of spiritual maturity.
Proverbs 12:16 tells us:
Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.
And Proverbs 19:11 adds:
A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.
According to these verses, it takes great wisdom and maturity to overlook insults and offenses from others. Our natural human response is to become quickly annoyed when criticized. But God calls us to a higher standard.
Jesus modeled the patient, graceful response we should strive for. Consider 1 Peter 2:23:
When they hurled their insults at [Jesus], he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
Despite intense opposition that led to his death on the cross, Jesus did not lash out or make threats. He chose to trust God rather than engage directly with His critics. What an amazing example for us!
No matter how unfair or unreasonable the criticism, we should aim to respond as Jesus did. Though it’s extremely difficult at times, God promises to give us supernatural strength and patience if we submit to Him.
Naysayers Can Help Refine Our Plans
With God’s help, we can even grow spiritually through negative criticism if we have ears to hear. Proverbs 27:6 tells us:
Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.
In other words, sometimes those who criticize us can provide valuable feedback that friends may not. If we listen humbly, naysayers may help refine and sharpen our plans, even if their intent was destructive.
For example, when the Israelites were rebuilding the temple in the book of Ezra, their enemies wrote a letter pointing out how Jerusalem’s walls were still broken down. While the intent was to discourage, the people of God wisely viewed it as constructive criticism that led them to restart their work on the city walls (Ezra 4:1-24).
God can use even our harshest critics if we prayerfully consider their words through the lens of scripture. Harshly rejecting all criticism may cause us to miss something helpful. Of course, we must be discerning and filter feedback through the Bible’s truth. But listening carefully and asking God for discernment can turn criticisms into blessings.
Seek God’s Approval, Not Man’s
As we discussed earlier, the Bible makes it clear we will all face critics and naysayers at times. You may be doing exactly what God called you to do, yet encounter negative responses. So how do you handle this?
The key is to remember that God’s approval matters infinitely more than fickle human opinion. Galatians 1:10 warns us:
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Pleasing God must be our supreme desire – not gaining man’s applause. Jesus constantly faced critics who hated him despite his perfect obedience to the Father. If even Jesus could not please everyone, we certainly will not either!
The promise of Isaiah 54:17 brings tremendous comfort:
No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord.
What freedom we can experience when our trust rests solely on what God thinks of us, not other people! Their criticism has no power to harm us or thwart God’s purposes when we draw assurance from Him alone.
Stand Firm Despite the Critics
Now we come to the big question: How can we stand firm in the face of naysayers and doubters? Discouragement can set in quickly when criticized. How do we stay confident in God’s affirmation?
The most powerful advice comes straight from the epistles. Paul tells us:
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
He encourages Timothy similarly:
Fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you… For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord… Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. (2 Timothy 1:6-8)
The consistent message is to stand firm, don’t lose heart! Keep believing God’s truth and acting on it, no matter who criticizes you. Allow the Holy Spirit to strengthen you and fan your spiritual gifts into flame. The enemy wants to extinguish the fire God lit within you – don’t let opposition achieve this!
Peter agrees, telling us:
Withstand him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. (1 Peter 5:9)
Standing firm in faith requires incredible tenacity. But by God’s power and grace, we can deflect every doubting word and remain steadfast in doing His will.
When criticism threatens to overwhelm us, the Psalms provide comfort and reassurance:
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalms 42:5)
From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. (Psalms 61:2)
I believed; therefore I said, ‘I am greatly afflicted.’ (Psalms 116:10)
By preaching truth to our soul, we can defeat despair and renew our trust in God alone. He remains our rock and refuge amidst any storm of criticism and doubt.
The Fruit of the Spirit
There’s one final secret weapon God gives us for standing firm against naysayers: the fruit of the Holy Spirit at work within us.
Galatians 5:22-23 describes the fruit that grows in every believer’s life as we follow Christ’s example: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Here’s the amazing part – this Spirit-produced fruit equips us perfectly to respond to critics with supernatural grace!
Love – reminds us naysayers need God’s redemption like we do.
Joy – remains unaffected by external voices trying to steal it.
Peace – rests in God’s affirmation, not man’s opinion.
Patience – gives us strength to endure unfair criticism.
Kindness – speaks gently and compassionately, even to attackers.
Goodness – responds ethically in the face of evil opposition.
Faithfulness – perseveres in obeying God despite resistance.
Gentleness – is thoughtful and reasonable facing irrational hatred.
Self-Control – resists angry outbursts or retaliation.
Isn’t it incredible how the fruit of the Spirit arms us to overcome negativity and naysayers? God knew we would need supernatural power to face critics without wavering. So He planted His very character within us in the form of this fruit.
The next time you face opposition, remember to draw on His inner strength instead of your own limited resources. Let His Spirit transform your words, thoughts, attitudes and actions. You’ll be amazed what happens when you rely on divine power to weather life’s storms!
The Bible clearly warns us that naysayers will be part of life on earth. But with God’s help, we can stand firm in faith against every critic and continue fulfilling His purposes. My prayer for you is that God will prepare you in advance for criticism, redeeming it for your good, so that no naysayer can ever steal the purposes He has for you.
Summary of Key Points:
- From Moses to Jesus, biblical heroes faced critics – so expect opposition today.
- God in His Word warns us that naysayers will come – be prepared.
- Our response reveals spiritual maturity – aim for grace and patience.
- Critics can refine our plans if we listen humbly for truth.
- Seek only God’s approval, not fickle human opinions.
- Stand firm in faith despite challenges, relying on God’s strength.
- Allow the fruit of the Spirit to equip you to overcome critics.
- Stay focused on God’s purposes – let no naysayer derail you!
My friend, you have a high calling from Christ. Don’t let doubts or criticisms drag you down as you carry out His work. You are destined to accomplish great things for His Kingdom. As God said to Jeremiah, “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you” (Jeremiah 1:8). Fix your eyes on Jesus, the ultimate example of one who endured intense naysayers yet fulfilled His mission. March forward in confidence!