by John Michalak
I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I can’t come down. Why should the work cease, while I leave it, and come down to you?”
The “Peanut Gallery” is a term that arose through the history of American entertainment. It likely originated in old variety shows held in theaters with the cheapest seats in the high balcony. These seats were often filled with loud and disrespectful patrons, leading to responses such as, “Now, that’s enough from the Peanut Gallery!”
In rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, Nehemiah had his own Peanut Gallery to deal with. These were people who didn’t necessarily know the Jews, didn’t care for them or for what they were doing, and just wanted to criticize and oppose them.
While respecting the danger enough to protect himself and others, Nehemiah also understood who they were and treated them accordingly. They were just some critics sitting in the “cheap seats” and the best thing to do was ignore them.
Constructive criticism can be a good thing. But, you should only hear it from people who care about you and are there to support you. Whether you’re doing God’s work or anything else important to you, don’t spend much time listening to those in the Peanut Gallery. They really don’t deserve your time and attention.
Pray: Lord, help me to discern which criticism I should listen to and which I should ignore. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.