by Rev. Johnny Lee Clary
Lately, I have been running into more than my usual amount of people who have been criticizing my style of ministering, my politics, my friends, as well as me in general. Most of the "criticism" comes from the internet. Have you ever had that happen to you? Of course you have if you are a fellow minister who is actually doing something for the Kingdom of Christ!
I sometimes allow this to upset me, as I am only human, but when that happens I have to take a deep breath and stop and think that it is Jesus who I am here to please and not these people. Besides that, I also realize that most of those who are posting do-do ( that's crap in case you didn't know) about me in blogs are guys and girls that would never have enough intestinal fortitude to come say anything to my face. I don't believe I should really be concerned about what some guy sitting in his underwear in his mother's basement, or some large unattractive girl in her trailer park eating chocolate bars while hacking away on their computers, actually thinks of me. ( I am using sarcasm to drive my point home. I have nothing against large people in trailer parks as long as they are jolly and nice to people like they are supposed to be.)
What bothers me though is when people who are actually ministers put me down. I had a woman that is the wife of a pastor of a large church, recently call me a racist, a prejudice person, a bigot, unlearned in the Bible and a dangerous person simply because she disagreed with my politics. She called me a right wing dangerous extremist that is harming the body of Christ. She posted it in blogs.
Now I shouldn't give a rat's behind about what she actually thought because not everyone is going to like me, but what was disturbing was she has followers who look up to her and are jockeying for position in her husband's church so they all fell right in behind her and started posting garbage on the blogs too.
The truth was this pastor's wife left me no choice but to draw the conclusion that she is Pro-Obama, Pro-Hamas, Anti-Israel, Pro-Gay, and a left wing liberal, by the comments she was making. She also bragged about going to the pub and drinking beer and getting tattoos, inviting others to join her. She put down major denominations calling them "religious" and twisted the Word of God around to fit her purpose.
This disturbed me greatly, because even though I tried to talk to the woman, to see if we could end the strife, and I even apologized if I had offended her, she dismissed me, ridiculed me and called me names.
People who knew her personally though, wrote to me and told me they were no longer in her church because she displayed that attitude with others. That made me understand the situation a little better. In my own opinion, anyone who conducts themselves in this manner that calls themselves a Christian has mental issues, as what pastor's wife would ever advocate going to bars, drinking beer and getting tattoos? I am not trying to sound judgmental but there are certain standards that ministers and their wives have to meet and I don't believe getting tattoos and drinking beer in the bars are among them.
We are called to set examples for other believers therefore we are held to a higher standard as ministers.
I believe ministers should build holy temples to worship God in and not country clubs where sin abounds and holiness left town.
Sometimes, people are not going to like you, and especially if they see your ministry as equal to or perhaps a little more prominent than theirs, or different than theirs, so they will resort to putting you down in order to make themselves look good and advance their own agenda by trying to stop yours.
A couple of years ago, a pastor who I thought was a friend of mine said he got two phone calls from a couple of guys that he knew that are ministers that had went to hear one of my sermons a few weeks earlier. They called the pastor and told him that my testimony was 'OK,' but that he should not let me preach because I can't preach. They suggested to him that he tell me to get some discipleship as I appeared to be a baby in Christ that didn't even know the word of God.
I was disturbed by this especially because I had preached for this pastor a few times. I couldn't understand why this pastor was bringing it up with concern.
I stopped being all that concerned when I spoke with a friend a few days later who said to me that he was upset that I allowed this kind of nonsense to bother me. He pointed out to me that I am preaching in the largest churches in Australia, as well as the USA and other nations, and getting more people saved than these guys have ever did in their entire careers as ministers. He pointed out to me that when they could match my record then they could talk. He also pointed out to me that the churches are calling for me to come to minister to their congregations and not them. I understood a lot better then. These remarks were apparently out of jealousy and nothing more.
In the case with the pastor's wife who blogged about me, she had nothing to be jealous about, so why did she hate me so much? The truth is not everyone is going to like you on this earth or believe like you do.
I seriously do not have ill-will towards this woman, but from the remarks she made to me, I really have no choice but to draw conclusions that this woman is a left wing liberal that helps to run a "Seeker Friendly" type of church. If I am correct in my conclusions, then no wonder she can't stand me because I do not compromise the Word of God or my convictions. Seeker friendly churches replace the unadulterated word of God with a watered down version of the "gospel" designed not to convict people of sin, but to just help build large churches. They create their own 'gospels' of "gentle Jesus meek and mild" in order to build the largest church in town.
What good does it do to have a huge church if most people are not even saved? I would rather have a small church where the true gospel was preached instead of a large one where it was not.
Have you ever had people criticize you? Of course you have! Most of them have received positions of power or are trying to get bigger positions and they think it will make themselves look good in the eyes of their superiors if they can put someone like me in "their place" as so to speak.
I could have gotten mad when I was told by the pastor of that church that he had to believe his "men" that told him I was a baby that couldn't preach because he trained them up personally. I didn't though. Instead, I just smiled and said, "Sorry you feel that way," and went on about my business.
It would have done no good to argue with him. Not that I am above receiving constructive criticism, or advice, however, I prefer to receive it from those who God has placed in authority over me or people I know, trust, and respect.
I do not wish to receive it from some guy or gal I never met before or someone who does not know me well personally who thinks he or she has a mandate or calling to come set me straight on things he or she disapproves of.
"For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men." (1 Peter 2:15)
Also I think Proverbs 26:4 applies in these types of situations. "Answer not a fool according to his folly lest you also be like him."
I think the best way to handle your critics is to just keep on keeping on! In other words, just keep preaching and doing what God has called you to do. You can't go wrong that way.
Whenever possible, just ignore those who criticize you. Nine out of ten times, they already have made up their minds about you and are prejudice towards you, and you are not going to change their minds by putting them in their place.
They will just hate you more.
Remember, most of them are either sick with jealousy and envy or indoctrinated with left wing liberal theology and that is why you need to pray for them that much more. God is able to change them, so pray for your enemies!
You see, God works through people. We all know that. However, I think we seem to forget that Satan also works through people. If you never run head on into the Devil then you are probably traveling the same direction he is.
If people are not criticizing, slandering, and gossiping about you, then you are no threat to the Devil or his followers, who are masquerading as "religious Christians." The Devil is only going to attack those who he sees as a threat.
If you are casting out devils, praying for the sick to be healed, teaching the Word of God and leading people to Christ, then you are going to be attacked! That's a fact.
Matthew 5:11-12 :
The Devil wants you to give up so you will not help advance the kingdom of God. If he can get you all upset at people the Devil is using to criticize you, you will lose focus on what you are called to do, will fail at your task God has given you, and the Devil gains a victory.
If you ignore them, and go about God's business, you will be glad you did. If they continue to assault you, prove them wrong by winning souls and preaching the Word, and they will have no choice but to shut up because if they do not then they end up looking like bigger fools than what they already are.
In the end, you will still be preaching and doing God's will by winning souls into the kingdom while your critics have long since been banished to the old folks home twiddling their thumbs, weaving baskets, and griping about how they never had a chance to be used by God while still criticizing you!
"Feel free to pass this around. I am sure there are some people who could use this!"