Does anybody like gnats?
In case you’re fortunate enough to live above the gnat line, let me try to explain gnats. Go to your kitchen and sprinkle pepper into your palm. Now multiply what’s in your hand by 1,000 and imagine that each speck has wings and a kamikaze-like desire to fly up your nose. That’s what gnats are like.
So, who likes gnats? Well, maybe if you cooked them just right! But how would you ever catch enough for a serving? All they seem to be good for is to annoy us and keep South Georgia from being overly crowded. Nobody likes them. Did you ever see anybody with a pet gnat?
But they also don’t really hurt anything. Thank God that he didn’t give gnats stingers! Imagine if they bit like mosquitoes! I would not have survived childhood.
Some criticisms are like gnats. They get all in your face and bother you a lot, but if you think about it, they really have no bite. The best response is to ignore them and go on with what you’re doing.
The Scripture’s way to describe unfounded criticism refers, not to gnats, but to swallows. “Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest” (Proverbs 26:2).
Often, we get cursed, not because there is anything wrong with us, but with the critic instead. When Jesus befriended the friendless, some called him a glutton and a drunk. It wasn’t true and wasn’t deserved – and he ignored it.
The church in Corinth shot their preacher with the sharpest darts a preacher will ever feel: “You can’t preach, and we liked our other ministers better.” Was that fair? Hardly! This was the apostle Paul they were talking about!
Fortunately, Paul didn’t let those swallows come to rest. His response? “It matters very little to me what you think of me,” he said, “even less where I rank in popular opinion,” (1 Corinthians 4:3 The Message).
When criticism comes – and it will – we should carefully consider whether there is something we need to correct. Sometimes, there isn’t, and we should not allow the criticism to “come to rest.” Swat it away like insignificant gnats.
It’s been said, “No conductor stops his train for a barking dog.” Don’t stop for unfounded criticism either. Like gnats, criticism is a nuisance. But after a while, both seem to disappear.