K.P. Yohannan: Overcoming Criticism in the Body of Christ

drkpyohannan
K.P. Yohannan Founder of Gospel for Asia

Criticism is a great danger in the Church in our day where many are even thinking they are doing God a favour by being critical against others. K.P. Yohannan shares ways we can overcome criticism that is directed towards us and understand why people do these things so we can have empathy and compassion for them. Currently we are featuring on SermonIndex.net a sermon on Bitterness by K.P. Yohannan which goes into detail of why believers end up acting in these ways. Only with God’s help through forgiveness can we be freed of this sin and start to live in a way where we bless and not condemn others.

Read below what K.P. Yohannan says about Criticism:

In our world, it seems impossible to escape criticism. If we do poorly at school or at work, people will criticize us. Should we do well and excel in business, we still face criticism from people who are jealous of our success. It seems to be a favorite pastime of the human race to take one person after another, good or bad, and “skin them alive” with criticism.

What makes people act this way? Psychologists say one of the underlying reasons people criticize each other is to take revenge for the hurts they once received. Whether deserved or not, criticism is always painful. No one likes it. Yet people seem to enjoy themselves when others are cut down.

Most believers have accepted the fact that the world will criticize us regardless of how saintly we may live or how many charitable contributions we may make. However, I have found that the greatest shock and discouragement for believers come when they realize that they encounter this same heartless criticism from their brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. Of course, God never meant this to happen. But many Christians have never allowed the Lord to cleanse their lives from this destructive behavior. It’s a very serious problem; and if it is not dealt with, it easily can destroy a church.

Imagine this: Jesus, the sinless Son of God, faced His worst criticism—not from the Roman government or from ungodly people—but from the most recognized and pious religious leaders of His nation. Paul experienced the same thing. His worst critics were people inside the Church, not the heathen he tried to win. In fact, he deals very thoroughly with this problem in his second letter to the church in Corinth.

Whether criticism comes from the world or from within the Church, it is important for us to know how we should respond to it.

Here are a few ways to Overcome:

1. Not To Pay Back – The Bible clearly instructs us in Romans 12:17 not to pay back evil for evil, which means we must not lash out and respond in anger in the same manner we were treated.

2. Maintain Love – On the contrary, God wants us to respond differently. We are to maintain our love for the brothers and trust the Lord to handle our defence. Only if we do this will the cycle of destructive criticism be broken.

3. Say No to Discouragement – The feelings of deep hurt and discouragement that follow criticism can easily bring us to a point of despair, giving up our calling or even suicide. In no way must we allow this to happen! If we give in, the enemy has reached his goal of stopping us from building God’s kingdom.

4. Look Objectively – The best we can do when we receive criticism is to look at it objectively. If the accusations are simply empty talk, we should dismiss them and by God’s grace go on with our life.

5. Be Willing to Change – Lastly, On the other hand, if there is any truth in the criticism, let us be willing to change, improve and grow in that area.

The Birthing of the Church from the Lord’s Side

Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. – John 19:34

Of the many subjects that demand a reverence and solemnity when thinking of, is the spear that pierced the side of our Lord. Some modern Churches and writers scantily speak of the signifigance of the wounds of Christ and steps leading up to His death. We look at it as a whole and think that what matters is the end goal or sum. Yet if we are to be appreciative of the gift of salvation through the death of Christ we would then look back and sit in awe and respect for all He suffered for us. Throughout Church history there has been an admiration and worship of the wounds of Christ, seeing the great significance and wonder of them. That the Son of God, God in the flesh had to suffer in such ways not only baffles the mind but causes wonder and amazement in the angels themselves (1 Peter 1:12). Have you ever sat back and considered quietly the wounds of our Lord? The Pain of the Saviour? The anguish of the crown of Thorns?

The entire history of humanity hings on the crucifixion of our Lord. He has truly made all things new. Bringing life from death. Immortality from mortality. Eternal life from His pierced side. God was reconciling the world to Himself through the battered Son of God. Eternity will only tell and reveal to our finite minds the awesome reality of what was done. Many early believers saw great meaning in the side wound of Jesus incurred while on the cross. The soldier using a lance to pierce the side of our Lord who had already died and out came blood and water. St. John Chrysostom says, “Beloved, do not pass over this mystery without thought; I said that water and blood symbolized baptism and the holy eucharist. From these two sacraments the Church is born. Since the symbols of baptism and the Eucharist flowed from his side, it was from his side that Christ fashioned the Church, as he had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam.” He also goes on to say: “Hence the Mysteries take their beginning; that when you approach to that awful cup, you may so approach, as drinking from the very side.”

It was conclusive from many leaders in the Church that the water that flowed symbolized water baptism (Roman. 6:4, Colossians 2:12) and the blood that flowed Holy Communion (1 Corinthians 10:16). John the Apostle who witnessed these things also wrote of this event again sheding light on its true meaning that Jesus Christ came bringing life through water and blood and they testify to a lost world of God’s intention (1 John 5:6-8). Our Lord speaks to this when he said of the: “blood of the covenant, which is poured out” (Matthew 26:27-28).

Origen wrote: “From the wound in Christ’s side has come forth the Church, and He has made her His Bride.”

Tertulllian wrote: “That they who believe in His blood might be bathed with the water.”

Augustine wrote: “There it was that the gate of life was opened.”

The Church is born out of the wounded side of Jesus. In many celebrations of the Lord’s Supper in the first centuries of the Church, water and wine were mixed in the communion as reminder to what occurred on the cross. When looking at artwork in the Church we see this continual picture of the chalice or cup below a Lamb or figure of Christ collecting the outflow of the precious blood. It is a humbling fact that we as a body of believers come out of the very side of Jesus, as the Bible also says in many places we are “In Christ” or a part of Him, His very body.

Lord, Before Thy Cross we bow down, O Master, and Thy holy Resurrection, we glorify. By your wounds we are healed and through your wound we have recieved life in baptism. Give me a deeper sense of the holy and your passion as we seek to walk with you in this world. Amen.