“Where have you gotten all these wise sayings? Whoe spirit speaks through you?” - Job 26:4
It’s hard not to criticize others for criticizing us, isn’t it? It is difficult to take criticism graciously. One of the problems is that criticism often comes to us when we are at our lowest ebb—like Job.
Job was sick and sorrowing. The three friends who came to bless him ended up breaking his heart with their words. Eliphaz criticized his integrity; Bildad criticized his worth as a person; Zophar criticized his faith.
Eliphaz, the oldest and first to speak, had used scriptural language, saying that a spirit had visited him with a message for Job (Job 4:12‑17). It’s hard to know what to say when someone comes to us and says, “God told me to tell you” such and such. How do we know when to take criticism to heart and when to simply walk away graciously?
Job was astounded by his friends’ harsh words. “Whose spirit speaks through you?” he asked (Job 26:4). Job told his friends that God was his judge, not they. Job knew that his worth lay in what his Redeemer thought about him and not what his friends thought! Job had his share of criticism, but, in the end, God was angry at his friends, for they had not been right in what they said about God to Job (Job 42:7).
We must deal with criticism honestly. We need to have personal integrity with God, with ourselves, and with others! Remember, in the end we answer to God—not Eliphaz, Bildad, or Zophar!
For Further Study: Job 26:1-44
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
For more from Jill Briscoe, please visit TellingtheTruth.org.