It is this issue that will mark your ministry. So when it comes, praise God for it and also expect it; Jesus said if you follow me, then persecution will come as well. The problem is we don’t respond well to criticism, a lot of the time we disagree with what they say and often refuse to listen to what they say at all.
Before looking at how to handle critics, the nature of modern criticism needs to be outlined. The internet has made criticism much more prevalent especially with bloggers (who live with their mum, don’t have a job and do nothing but argue with people online all day in their pyjamas). These points Mark gleaned from Rick Warren.
Instant – can be about anything at any time and occurs at the time it happens, before you finish your sentence.
Constant – its 24 hours a day.
Permanent – Once its up it’s there for ever, unlike words said face to face and even to an extent letters and papers.
Global – The whole world knows about it and is involved in it, instantly constantly and permanently.
So what is the response?
Respond with humility, don’t take the high ground but be willing to listen to them and find the truth that is within, even if there is not much of it, most criticism has some truth. When you see what the truth is, then you can learn from your critics, how to change your own life and speech.
Don’t respond out of anger, for this just makes it worse, either delay your response, let the anger ease or don’t respond at all, you would have no time left if you responded to all your critics all the time.
Don’t become the critic, often when we are criticised it is easy to come back with our own issues. Don’t cut down other churches and ministries, love the whole church, stand for the truth but don’t be critical about a church and what they are doing when they love Jesus and are trying to serve him. Keep it all about Jesus.
For me I can find this hard, sometimes I don’t control my toungue when critique is made and i respond in anger. Often I also criticise others and their way of doing things or vent my frustration at how such and such a church is failing to do this or doing this when they should do that. All this is done in arrogance, and comes from me who has hardly had their foot in the door of running a church or ministries. So I need to keep checking myself for this frustration.
How do you deal with your critics?
Are you tempted to be the critic?