Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

Jean Sibelius gained fame as a composer in his native Finland. He gained many admirers as his music began to be played worldwide. Born on this day in 1865, he eventually became the victim of a backlash.

Some considered his music to be too conservative. One critic called his Second Symphony “vulgar, self-indulgent, and provincial beyond all description.” Sibelius could be encouraged that many loved his music. Yet the criticism still hurt.

Forced to listen to these remarks, Sibelius realized how easy it was to criticize. He once commented that “a statue has never been set up in honor of a critic.” Yet this criticism still added to his own self-doubt. In 1927, he described how he felt at “rock-bottom.”

Wounded, he withdrew into isolation, publishing no music for the last 25 years of his life.

Like Sibelius, Job, too, faced criticism. Attacked by his friends, Job felt wounded. Ultimately, he turned to God and became convinced that he would be vindicated, declaring,“I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last” (Job 19:25 NLT).

There are many ways to respond to criticism. It can be helpful to pray about what you hear. The perspective you receive may be valid and valuable. As God leads, you may seek to change. But never allow criticism to impact your commitment to the Kingdom of God. Stay focused and faithful to His call. Don’t give up or become discouraged. Others may not understand your mission; make sure that God is pleased.

Also remember the ways your words can impact others. Your comments, even spoken without malice, may hurt someone. Think about this before you spread rumors or listen to gossip. These words can sink into the heart and really cause deep wounds (Proverbs 18:8).