But as for you, you intended to harm me, but God intended it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many lives.
Genesis 50:20 MEV
Remember the story of Joseph? His heartless brothers fake his death, selling him to human traffickers. Things go from bad to worse, and Joseph ends up in an Egyptian dungeon. Thirteen years later, in the most amazing rise to political power ever, Joseph becomes Pharaoh’s right-hand man. That’s when his brothers come begging for food. But instead of taking revenge on his brothers, Joseph says, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
Let me reverse-engineer this.
Do you remember why Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery in the first place? The short answer is Genesis 37:8: “They hated him all the more because of his dream.” They mockingly called Joseph “the dreamer” (v.19).
Your dreams will inspire many people, no doubt. But your dreams will also summon opposition. They will cause a wide variety of reactions, including jealousy and anger. Some people might even want to kill you because of them. Why? Because you are disrupting the status quo.
Every dreamer has to deal with naysayers, and I’ve had more than my fair share. So let me tell what I’ve learned about dealing with criticism. First of all, don’t let an arrow of criticism pierce your heart unless it first passes through the filter of Scripture. Second, you’ve got to come to terms with the fact that you can please all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time.
You’re going to offend someone. You’ve got to decide who. My advice? Offend Pharisees, those who nitpick and belittle while walking apart from the Spirit of God. Jesus did this very kind of offending with intentionality and regularity.
Your dream is going to ruffle some feathers, but don’t play chicken. Operate in a spirit of bold humility, knowing that God goes before you. He turns the harm others would do to you into the kind of good that only he can accomplish.
And remember this: A compliment from a fool is really an insult, and an insult from a fool is really a compliment. Make sure you consider the source. And never abandon the dream.
What kind of criticism or opposition have you been receiving? How do you need to respond to it?