We’ve all been there, hang around people long enough, especially in ministry, and it’s bound to happen–sooner rather than later. What is it, you ask? Cue the drum roll please….Criticism. And how we respond can make us or break us, quite literally.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a 12-step plan for overcoming criticism. Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that easy? Criticism stinks! It never feels good, and being in ministry leaves you more exposed and more vulnerable to people who feel it is their “gift” to set you straight. But it’s up to us to keep our hearts right and not allow ourselves to become negative and critical in response.
Why would someone criticize you? Don’t they realize that what you did–be it an event, bible study, or meeting–you did with the very best of intentions, with a lot of heart and prayer injected in. In a word, no. And it will just drive you crazy trying to make someone else see your point of view. The fact is we can’t control other people’s thoughts and feelings, but we can control our own.
I know (believe me, I know) the natural reaction when someone lashes out at you is not love and grace. That’s usually the last thing that crosses my mind. It’s hard work keeping my eyes from bugging out of my head and my voice from shaking like the last leaf on a tree in a winter blizzard. But that’s what I’m proposing that we, as Christ-followers, do. When we show love to someone at the very moment they are acting unloving towards us, then we can know that we are truly showing God’s heart. So while we might feel low knowing that we’ve failed to earn the approval of man (or woman), we can feel good knowing that Jesus is pleased with our reaction.
How do you deal with criticism?