The Critical, the Criticized, and the Crazy

Standard

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.

Reaction time!

How do you deal with criticism?

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “The Critical, the Criticized, and the Crazy

  1. My first instinct is to keep a happy face during the time I encounter criticism and then throw a pity party when I get home but God really challenged me a few weeks ago with a few verses..

    Romans 12: 18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. ”
    Hebrews 12:14 “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”

    Now I am working on how to have a peaceful heart and be a person of peace even in the midst of criticism and to be authentic with it even when I get home.

    • Thanks for your insight Alyssa! I know what you mean about keeping a happy face in public and then throwing myself a pity party. I have to really work to keep my mind focused on things that are kind and lovely!

  2. Great blog Erica!
    When I was a young girl I watched some in our church attempt to destroy my friend’s parents. I saw first hand how horrid some “Christians” could be.
    The Bible talks much about God being our defense. In the early years I thought I had to defend my motives – how true that {it will just drive you crazy trying to make someone else see your point of view.} What freedom, when I finally grasped that God sees my heart, He knows my motives and He is my defense. I am responsible that my motives be right and God will deal with the rest.
    When criticism comes my way, I take it to God and ask Him if there is any truth in it? If I need to change something? If there is no truth in it and it was meant to hurt and cripple me, then I lay it at Abba Father’s feet and let Him deal with it. I also have to ask Him to help me see that person through His eyes and give me wisdom and discernment. Love does make the difference.
    Absolutely love this line –{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.}
    As for my friend’s parents — years later I had the privilege to have them over to my house for lunch. They were pastoring a church in Iowa at the time. The enemy had not taken them out of the battle. They were pressing on and giving God glory!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s