Lenten Reflection Series: How Jesus Responds to Criticism

Today’s gospel tells us about Jesus and his response to those who are picking up rocks to stone him.  How must it have felt to be Jesus?  He was constantly criticized throughout his ministry.  The rallying calls against Him reached such a fever pitch that He was crucified.

And yet, we see Him – in today’s gospel, and again in the Garden of Gethsemane – remain calm and keep teaching the disciples.

Is this how we react to criticism in our own lives?

For me, the answer is usually “no.”  Sometimes, I will become defensive, refusing to acknowledge criticism.  Other times, as a form of self-protection, I’ll lash out at the critic. The majority of the time, I avoid disapproval by staying silent.  This is not the way of Jesus.

God became human to experience what we experience – Jesus powerfully understands the vulnerability of being criticized.   Rather than choosing silence or becoming defensive, Jesus shows us the better way in today’s gospel.

What do you need to find the courage to speak today?  Where is God calling you to release your fear of being criticized?  How would making yourself more vulnerable make you a more faithful disciple?

Jenny Heipp is a PhD candidate in anthropology at Washington University in Saint Louis.