Growing leaders who desire to finish strong in the work of the Lord must develop a filter through which they receive criticism.
To disregard all criticism is prideful and insolates you from help you need. But to try to act on all criticism reveals another type of pride—the fear of man, not to mention that it will drive you crazy.
So, how should you deal with criticism? When I receive criticism, there are three thoughts I try to bear in mind.
- I remember that without God’s grace, I am nothing. This helps keep me from feeling defensive against criticism that could help me grow.
- I remember that people do indeed sometimes have misperceptions. Some of the people who have written the most about our ministry have never taken the time to come see us firsthand or to ask clarifying questions. Often their perceptions have simply been false.
- I am always glad to talk if someone directly approaches me about his concerns. Over the years, these kinds of personal conversations have been mutually beneficial and have sometimes forged great relationships.
Recently my friend, Dr. R. B. Ouellette, put much of this in perspective in writing the guest post below. He notes five types of critics as well as how to deal with each.
Dr. Ouellette has pastored the same church (First Baptist Church of Bridgeport in Bridgeport, Michigan) for forty years. Needless to say, he’s dealt with a few critics over the years. I found the thoughts below very helpful and trust that you will as well.
Anyone who does anything will be criticized. B. R. Lakin used to say, “The way to avoid criticism is to have nothing, be nothing, and do nothing.” Dr. Hutson said that when he was speaking to Dr. Lakin about the criticism his church was receiving, Lakin said, “Well, as long as they’re kicking you in the rear, you know you’re still out in front.”
The book of Proverbs gives us two apparently contradictory verses: (more…)