How do we answer our critics? How can we defend ourselves against the harsh words and mean tweets and discouraging comments? Take a moment to learn how to answer your critics and maybe even come out the other side a better you.

Answering our critics podcast notes

Jimmy Kimmel has a segment on his show called Mean Tweets where celebrities read the mean things people Tweet about them.  Here are some of our favorites.

Sean Penn seems like he’d stab me for no reason and then immaculately stitch my wounds while telling me about his time in Haiti

Peyton Manning is the only player that looks like the mascot of the team for which he plays. Colts or Broncos.

Nick Jonas was cute when he was in the Jonas Brothers and now he looks like a ferret

How do you make Obama’s eyes light up? Shine a flashlight in his ears.

Russel Westbrook looks like JarJar Binks

Have you ever been downloading something online and halfway through it just froze and couldn’t go anywhere? think Steph Curry’s puberty.

How do we answer our critics? How can we defend ourselves against the harsh words and mean tweets? To be honest with you, I’m not really all that concerned with our critics. There will always be critics. What I want to figure out is how can I be a good representation of who God is in our society.

The first way to answer our critics and establish a good reputation is

1) Walk in the truth rather than fight for your rights

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4

If what I believe is truth, then it’s my job to prove to the world that I am right.

What I believe is right. What you believe is wrong. My way of living is better than yours. Folks, all of that may be true, but being the person that is always fighting for what you believe is right never leads to better relationships.

A buddy of mine sent me this last week As I age, I realize that …

1. I occasionally talk to myself because I need expert advice.

2. Sometimes I roll my eyes out loud.

3. I don’t need anger management training, I need people to stop ticking me off.

4. My people skills are just fine, it’s my tolerance of idiots that needs work.

5. Even duct tape can’t fix stupid, but it can muffle the sound!

That’s hilarious isn’t it. It’s also what we too often sound like as Christians.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? 1 Corinthians 5:12

We don’t need to judge the people around us by a biblical standard. That’s not our job. When we play that role, this is what people think of us

Christian Truth Tweet
“I don’t care how loud you scream that you have the (Christian) truth. If you are rude and brash to people why would I even want your truth.”

Here’s what I think it means to walk in truth. That we have chosen to stop listening to lies. We are choosing to walk in what God says is the true way to live and we aren’t going to listen to lies anymore. The truth is we hear lies all the time.

Here’s one. If you make enough money you will get a sense of security. Have you heard that one. For centuries people have pursued it as their truth and come up empty. Ben Franklin put it like this.

“Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants.” Benjamin Franklin

If money is your hope for independence, you will never have it. Henry Ford

Here’s another lie people listen to. If you succeed in business you’ll be content and people will honor you.

Years ago I heard man speak who had given into this lie. He was successful and rich and found himself empty. He used this line and I’ll never forget it. “I climbed to the top of the corporate ladder only to realize that my ladder was propped up against the wrong building.”

Here’s a very common lie more guys are buying into today. The more women I sleep with the more fulfilled I’ll be. I know that sounds like high school mentality, but more and more grown ups are buying into it. I remember having lunch with a guy who made this statement. I’ll never forget it. “I haven’t been with a woman over the last 8 years that I haven’t cheated on.”

Let me give you some other lies. I’ll be happy if my body is in shape
I will be valuable if I can find someone to fall in love with.
I will be fulfilled if I get into that college
I’ll feel important if I can get people to recognize my skills.

We are lied to all the time. When we as Christians stand up and say that we believe the truth what we are saying is “I’m tired of being lied to.
I’m going to believe the truth.
I’m going to believe that God knows what’s best for me
I’m going to believe that God’s word has wisdom for how to live my life
I’m going to believe in the truth of this word and follow it even if no one else does.

2) Allow the truth to transform the way you live

When people criticize Christians or send out mean tweets, what are we most commonly criticized for? I think that’s easy. Hypocrisy.

A police officer pulled a driver aside and asked for his license and registration. “What’s wrong, officer,” the driver asked. “I didn’t go through any red lights, and I certainly wasn’t speeding.”
“No, you weren’t,” said the officer, “but I saw you waving your fist as you swerved around the lady driving in the left lane, and I further observed your flushed and angry face as you shouted at the driver of the Hummer who cut you off, and how you pounded your steering wheel when the traffic came to a stop near the bridge.”
“Is that a crime, officer?”
“No, but when I saw the ‘Jesus loves you and so do I’ bumper sticker on the car, I figured this car had to be stolen.”

Actions like that put us on Twitter more than any other action. We need to learn to live differently

It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. 2 John 3:4

Then he says, “This is love. To walk in obedience.”

The point he is making is simple. Don’t just talk about truth walk in it. If you really love God, walk in obedience. The hard fact is that you don’t really love God if you don’t obey him. Any parent knows the truth of this. How does it feel parent, when you have a child that says I love you, but then doesn’t listen to a word you say.

3) Make your reputation with love.

I ask that we love one another.  And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. 2 John 5-6

Let me end with a story. Several years ago I challenged my elder board to read a book called the Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. In the author made a statement that not only do we not care about the homeless we don’t even know the name of one homeless person. I was convicted by that statement. I drive by homeless people all the time and I even swing through fast food restaurants and buy them food. But I had to admit that I didn’t know any by name. So I made a pact with myself to prove him wrong. So one day instead of driving through a fast food place to get food, I decided to find some homeless and take their order face to face. Anyone want to guess where I went. That’s right. Mira Mesa blvd. I parked my car and found a homeless person and took his order. Then after I got the food I sat down with him. Turns out that guy was crazy. All I really found out that day was how much this guy loved Jesus and how fond he was of weed. But I knew at least one homeless man’s name.

Over the next month or so I made it a habit to go down to Mira Mesa to get to have a homeless lunch. On one of those visits I met Wayne. Wayne was 6’ 3”, had red hair and a beard and was pretty decent company. During lunch he told me his story. He was married and he invited a friend to stay with him. Over time he realized that his friend was having an affair with his wife. So Wayne turned to alcohol. Over time the addiction became so great that he got kicked out of his home and ended up on the street. He told me that all he wanted was a new start. A new chance to get a job. A chance to get back on his feet. So for a couple of months I made Wayne my project. He was my one. One time I saw him and he told me he needed a sleeping bag, so I ran home and got one of ours and delivered it to him. Another time he was struggling with heartburn so I ran to CVS to get him medicine. He needed pants, so I went to salvation army to find him some pants. I found him one day and asked him if he was going to be around tomorrow and he said he would be there around ten, so I made him a stack of pancakes and took them down to him. Wayne didn’t show up so I found another homeless guy.

During this time I tried to get him into a shelter where he could put his life together. I called up the a shelter and found a spot where he could apply to live and I gave Wayne the number. I offered to take him down there, but he refused. He said he knew where it was and could get there himself. I also offered to help him get an identification card. You can’t go into long term housing unless you have a card. So I gave him the information about how to do that but nothing happened. Have you heard the phrase, “How do you know when an addict is lying. Their lips are moving.” I learned that there might be some truth to that. I may be wrong, but Wayne didn’t seem as motivated as I thought to find a place to rebuild his life. But we still hung out. Over time I stopped seeing Wayne. He just disappeared. So one day I drove over to Mira Mesa Blvd and started asking some of the other homeless if they knew Wayne and might know where he was. I don’t know what I was expecting. Like there is some homeless phone directory they could point me too. But believe it or not, I found another homeless guy who was friends with Wayne. He said that one day Wayne collapsed and they took him to the hospital. He even knew the hospital. So I planned a trip downtown to Scripps Mercy hospital. I wanted to bring him something, but a get well balloon didn’t seem appropriate. The only thing I knew he liked was cigarettes. So I went to the gas station and bought him a pack and headed down. I didn’t know his last name but somehow I found him. I wheeled him out to the smoking area and we talked. I found out that Wayne had total kidney failure and would be on dialysis the rest of his life. Then Wayne said something to me that I’ll never forget. He looked me in the eye and said, “You’re a good man Jack.”

Do you know how many things I’ve done in my life to try and prove that to myself? Speaking, church work, missions. It never felt as true to me as it did when it came out of that homeless man’s mouth.

In all honestly, I didn’t spend that much time with Wayne. Right now all I can think is that I wished it was more. I’m not sure if I was doing it for him or for me. Honestly, it was probably a combination of both. For a short time he was my one. Wayne was my friend. I haven’t seen him in years. I don’t even know if he’s alive. But I miss him.