Summary: 1. The Holy Spirit helps us pattern our response to complainers after Jesus Christ.
1. The Holy Spirit helps us pattern our response to complainers after Jesus Christ. The writer of Hebrews wrote, "Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Heb. 12:3) Ask the Lord to help you gain more of Christ’s ability to endure criticisms, complaints and abuse from people who oppose you or your methods.
2. The Holy Spirit gives us grace to maintain self-control when we are criticized. 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) Ask the Lord to help you to give you a more thankful heart for the privilege of being identified with the Godly people of the scriptures.
3. The Holy Spirit endows us with a calm mind to not react with anger when attacked. Solomon wrote, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (Proverbs 15:1) Ask the Lord to help you maintain your decorum, tact and diplomatic manner when responding to complaints.
4. The Holy Spirit teaches us how to avoid open confrontation by supplying us with discretionary wisdom. Occasionally, leaders show wisdom when they defer, delay, obfuscate, or prevaricate (speak evasively). Paul wrote, "Don’t have anything to do with stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. The Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth." (2 Tim. 2:24-26) Ask the Lord’s help in demonstrating the wisest, coolest and more tactful response when you are openly opposed by an angry individual.
5. The Holy Spirit urges us to be slow to speak and slow to become angry when we are verbally attacked. James wrote, "Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to become angry." (James 1:19) Ask the Lord for the ability to think through and pray about your response in a measured fashion before blurting out the first things that come into your mind.
6. The Holy Spirit convicts believers who make a habit of complaining and criticizing others. Paul wrote, "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life." (Phil. 2:14,15) Ask the Lord to press home the guilt and shame experienced by perpetual complainers, critics and cynical people.
7. The Holy Spirit reminds complainers that the source of most problems lies within an individual’s own selfish desires. James wrote, "What is the source of conflicts and quarrels among you, is it not your own desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You do not have because you do not ask. When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." (James 4:1-4) Ask the Lord to help you use scripture to teach complainers to consider the place that their own selfish interests are contributing to their sense of frustration.
8. The Holy Spirit gives us a Godly sense of humility to remain teachable, humble and responsive to everyone’s suggestions. Paul wrote, "Love is patient, not resentful and looks for a way of being constructive." (I Cor. 13:4,5) Ask the Lord to help you be willing to learn from anyone without becoming resentful, bitter or habitually defensive. Trust the Lord to help you distinguish between non-essential suggestions and essential contributions that are necessary for the qualitative and quantitative growth of your church, organization or body of believers.
9. The Holy Spirit equips us with all of the armor to withstand any complaints, criticisms or abuse. Paul said, "Take up the FULL armor of God so that you can stand the attacks of the devil." (Eph. 6:13) Ask the Lord to help you fully equip yourself with all the necessary armor to withstand the darts hurled against you
10. The Holy Spirit encourages us to not give into fear, anger, or self-doubt when criticized. Paul wrote, "God has not given you the spirit of fear, but the Spirit of power, love and discipline." (2 Tim. 1:7) Ask the Lord to remind you of all the powerful resources you have in Christ when you are judged.
11. The Holy Spirit uses criticism to help us gain a greater insight into the needs of our complainers. Paul realized that many complaints come from immature people who are not properly trusting and obeying the Lord. Paul wrote, "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit...Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice." (Eph. 4:30,31) Ask the Lord to help you have sympathy and concern for the problems that internally cause people to speak in an unspiritual fashion.