How can we deal with criticism?
We don’t know much about Noah. But from what we do now, we’re able to patch together a small picture of the kind of man he was. He was called “a righteous man” and “blameless among the people of his time” (Genesis 6:9). He was said to have “walked faithfully with God” and Peter even called him “a preacher of righteousness” (Genesis 6:9 and 2 Peter 2:5). Perhaps more important than all of these adjectives ascribed to Noah was his actions. God told him to build an enormous boat. It had to be bigger than any boat Noah or anyone else had ever seen. And at some level it had to seem a little absurd. But God said, “Do it,” so Noah did it.
God gave Noah a tremendous task. Not only was he to spend years building his ark, but he was also called to care for hundreds and hundreds of animals. Noah was to provide the way of salvation for any who had not been overwhelmed by the violence and rebellion. So, he and his family were saved.
As you work through this verse with your child, it’s important to recognize that Noah’s righteousness was not necessarily perfect law keeping (if you don’t believe me, check out Genesis 9:18-28). Noah’s righteousness was found in his faith and faithfulness to God. He trusted God and walked with him. Like Abraham, Noah was made righteous by faith. And this is what each one of us is called to.
To make Noah’s story more personal, you might want to ask your child what they would have done if they had been in Noah’s position. What would it have felt like to build that giant boat and collect all of those animals while others looked on, mocking and laughing? How do you think Noah dealt with the criticism from others? How can we deal with criticism when people don’t like or understand what God has called us to do? Who was Noah trying to please? Who do we try to please?
I would encourage you to pray with your children and ask God what he may want to do through your family. And don’t forget to pray for the courage and boldness of Noah. Depending on what God asks, you’ll need it.