Should Criticism Stop Me from Giving? (Y1.T2.D34)
Updated: Mar 29
Unsplash; "Zach Vessels"
The answer you might expect me to write is: No.
My actual answer is: It depends.
Believe it or not, there are times when we shouldn't give. Not because of the critics—they should never stop us. But we shouldn't give if our motives aren't genuine. In fact, when I feel the urge to give because I might look good, then I should stop. Humans are insatiable. They can not only wear me out with their endless wants, but they seldom appreciate what comes easily to them.
On the other hand, if I'm giving from a "cheerful heart" as I have determined, "not grudgingly or under compulsion" (2 Corinthians 9:7), then I step into the kind of love that "doesn’t behave itself inappropriately, doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil" (1 Corinthians 13:5). God becomes my motivation, not men.
Then, when the critics rant, I'm not at all bothered.
In his "Citizenship in a Republic," Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910, The twenty-sixth President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt,made this often-quoted and inspiring statement:
It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.
If you have ever felt criticized or rejected by people or organizations who didn’t understand your motive to give, take a moment and lift up a prayer of forgiveness for them. If you are unsure if the reason you give is genuine, consider ways to give anonymously.
Ultimately, we want the applause—that encourages our hearts—to come directly from God. (Matthew 6:1–4).
An Example of a Generous Giver
1 Then six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, who had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. (John 12:1)
2 So they made him a supper there. Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with him. (John 12:2)
3b as he [Jesus] sat at the table, (Mark 14:3b)
3b The house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. (John 12:3b)
4b So they grumbled against her. (Mark 14:5b)
4 Then Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, one of his disciples, who would betray him, said, 5 “Why wasn’t this ointment sold for three hundred denarii, and given to the poor?” 6 Now he said this, not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and having the money box, used to steal what was put into it. (John 12:4–6)
11 For the poor will never cease out of the land. Therefore I command you to surely open your hand to your brother, to your needy, and to your poor, in your land. (Deuteronomy 15:11)
1 When Jesus had finished all these words, he said to his disciples, 2 “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” (Matthew 26:1–2)
9 A large crowd therefore of the Jews learned that he was there, and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests conspired to put Lazarus to death also, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus. (John 12:9–11)
3 Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas. 4 They took counsel together that they might take Jesus by deceit and kill him. (Matthew 26:3–4)
3 Satan entered into Judas, who was also called Iscariot, who was counted with the twelve. (Luke 22:3)
15b So they weighed out for him thirty pieces of silver. (Matthew 26:15b)
I want to be subjected to You. I want to resist the devil and cause him to flee (James 4:7). Please examine the motives of my heart when I perform merciful deeds; don’t let my left hand know what my right hand does (Matthew 6:3). I do not want to act out of rivalry or conceit but in humility, counting others better than myself (Philippians 2:3).
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