Earlier this year, I had a dream that the Lord used to speak to me.
A man that I know to be a prodigal was hit by a vehicle. The accident happened right in front of me and the situation was very bad.
Immediately I began trying to minister to the man, placing my hand on him and crying out to Jesus for healing.
Other people came up to help, and we moved the man out of the road. Someone was yelling to call an ambulance. I picked up my phone to call an ambulance, but there was a guy from my church on the other end. We’ll call him “Charles.”
Charles had also witnessed the whole thing. But apparently he was standing somewhere over to the side, and all he wanted to do was critique my personal performance. He was telling me all the ways that he thought I could have done better. And then Charles said, “So look man, what I’m saying is that if you ever end up handling an emergency situation that I’m in…”
I screamed, “Charles, hang up the phone!”
In real life, “Charles” is a guy from my church who loves to talk. He’s a really nice guy. I don’t know him all that well, but what always stands out to me about Charles is how much he talks.
In the dream, here I was trying to help someone in urgent need. And here Charles was, going on and on about my performance. When I picked up the phone, I had dialed 911 and hit the send button, but my call hadn’t gone through yet. Because Charles was on the line and wouldn’t stop talking.
At this point, my hands were back to being occupied with my friend. I was still helping to move him and tend to him. So I desperately needed Charles—the critical Christian who was doing absolutely nothing to help—to stop talking and hang up the phone. I needed him to do this immediately so that I could help someone in desperate need.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”(Ephesians 4:29 NIV)
When I asked the Lord for the meaning of the dream, it was immediately clear. There are Christians who love to hear themselves talk. So they sit on the sidelines observing the people who are actually out doing the work of ministry.
They let the true workers know what they didn’t like. They let you know how your performance made them feel. What it made them think of, and what they saw that you could have been doing better. These critics are thinking about themselves. Meanwhile the people you are called to help are badly wounded. They desperately need you to complete your task.
These critics will be a major distraction and hindrance to your ministry work until you stop listening to them. They will ruin your ministry if you let them.
So don’t do it. Ignore their objections and keep moving forward!
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