How to Respond to Critics

“And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”   (I Peter 3: 12 – 17)

Jesus urged His followers to take their cross and follow Him. 

Peter who did do good and suffered because of it appealed to us to be “Followers of that which is good.” This translates the word, “zelotes” which means ardent lover. We are to be ardent lovers of that which is good. No heart is pure that is not passionate. No virtue is safe that is not enthusiastically believed.

If you do follow that which is good, you will be “blessed.” The word translated blessed can be translated as “happy.”

So, don’t be alarmed, if it is God’s will for you to suffer for the good, don’t fear it. It is better to suffer man’s wrath for doing God’s will than to suffer God’s wrath for doing man’s will. 

Do not be dismayed.  Keep hope alive. This hope originates within you. It is a mental state opposite of dismay. This hope does not rest merely in your temperament, knowledge is essential. Hope must have a reasonable basis. You must know and be able to explain the reason for your hope.

To sanctify the Lord in your heart means to set Him aside as your Lord.
Be ready to answer your critics. This requires study.
Our faith must be a first-hand discovery, not a second-hand story.
Show meekness, be humble and exercise self-control.
Fear called for in the text is respect, reverence, and caution.
To have a good conscience requires knowledge.
To be of good conversation means to live so that others have cause to speak well of you.

A saint has been defined as one whose life makes it easy to believe in Christ. All can’t wield the sharp sword of reason well, but all can wear the silver shield of innocence. Take heart – – –

“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their prayers;
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (I Peter 3:11)