Answering the Critics

As homeschoolers, we all face a certain amount of criticism. When you swim against the tide you tend to develop a hard shell. Sometimes it may seem that a really smart comeback would be handy. Responding “Nanny-nanny-poo-poo! I’m right; you’re wrong!” might make you feel better but the long-term benefits are dubious. As Christians, criticism is to be expected. How we answer the critics is vital; not only externally as a reflection of Christ, but also internally in our relationship with Him and others.

First, we aren’t to seek the approval of men. If we are living for Christ, then neither the criticism nor the accolades of man should move us.

Did their unjust attack or accusation cause you to slip into depression? If so, that is a sure sign that you did not respond in meekness! Meekness is neither elated nor cast down because it is not occupied with self at all!

Kay Arthur

Second, as Christ’s ambassadors on earth, we are to walk as He walked. Those who criticize us or our choices need to see Him, not our earthly flesh reacting in anger.

And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

2 Timothy 2:24-26

Sometimes people will ask questions because they are curious and interested rather than being critical. We shouldn’t automatically assume a defensive position.

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Colossians 4:6

We need to keep our eyes on Jesus, spend time in His Word and with Him in prayer. Our reactions to criticism will be very different if we are walking with Him than if our focus is on our self-serving interests.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

We also need to be careful not to let bitterness take root. People can say some very unkind and hurtful things. Things with staying power. Things that can affect the way we view ourselves and others. But love is not provoked. Love thinks no evil.

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled….

Hebrews 12:14-16

Remember that your children are watching how you handle criticism. For better or worse little eyes are watching. If you believe the Bible, then you know that we can take no credit for our choice to homeschool our children. All good gifts come from God. It is God who gets the credit for leading us to that decision and for enabling us to continue. It is tempting to point out the educational superiority of a homeschool education. But in defending our choices, we don’t want to leave our children with the impression that because they are homeschooled they are somehow “better” than those who are not. They can know how blessed we really are. They can help us pray for those who don’t understand.

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Colossians 3:12-17