Assumptions On Our Part | Coping With Criticism – A Pastor’s Nightmare

The age old adage, “Never assume anything!” should ALWAYS be applied when criticized. When any two people meet and converse, there is the likelihood that conflict can erupt. Some of the tension that occurs while criticism is taking place are the assumptions that we make in the heat of the moment. More often than not, our assumptions are unfounded!

There Four Common Assumptions We Make As Pastors/Spiritual Leaders When Being Criticized…

#1 – We Often Assume That The Person(s) Are Being Mean, Cruel And Are “Full Of The Devil”!

Does this sound familiar? Countless times I walked away from someone thinking this very thing. After considering my actions and the situation later, I come to realize that they probably were not “full of the Devil”, but were certainly used by him. However, we cannot assume that everyone who disagrees with us or has an issue is trying to be cruel and mean when they come to us. After all, we always say that people should come to the pastor with their problems. Why is it when they come that we think bad of them?

#2 – We Often Assume That The Person(s) Are Absolutely Wrong And We Are RIGHT!

Why is it that we usually think we are right and that person is just plain wrong, or, in the very least, does not have their facts straight? The truth is that they probably do have their facts in order, but we are just too blind with pride to admit it! Assuming that we are always right will lead one to a major problem as a leader. A good spiritual leader will guard against thinking that their peers are beneath them.

#3 – We Often Assume That The Person(s) Are In A Conspiracy With Others!

I am not sure why many pastors are paranoid about people aligning themselves against them. I know that it is prevalent in many places and it has happened to many on a number of occasions, but not every person who comes to me with a criticism is one of those people. If we do not get this paranoia under control, it will hinder our ministry. People criticize for a number of reasons, but not all are co-conspirators.

#4 – We Often Assume That The Person(s) Are Just Goofy And Have Issues Themselves Thus Rendering Themselves Irrelevant!

There have been a few occasions where I have to admit that I thought this about one who criticized me. After a meeting one night, I had a fellow to rebuke me in a kind way about wearing a beard. Even though he had no Bible verses to back up his assertions, I just felt like this guy was… well… different! When you travel a lot and meet different types of people, you will, no doubt, run into people who are goofy and weird in our eyes. This is because we are from another region or something. However, just because someone may be goofy, does not mean that we should see them as irrelevant.


In summary, we need to be careful that we do not make assumptions about those who criticize us in haste. God uses all types of people, and it could be that He is giving us some wisdom through those who come to us with their criticisms. Our pride will rob us of some godly wisdom if we are not careful. It suffices to say that we must be careful about assumptions we make about those who criticize!

Look For Our Next Post In This Series: Sinful Responses To Criticism

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By J. Oswald Sanders / Moody Publishers

Charles Colson called it “the best book on Christian leadership I’ve read.” Discover why this timeless classic continues to equip tomorrow’s ministers—and challenges today’s shepherds—toward greater effectiveness! Revised and updated, Sanders’s hard-hitting study explores the essential qualities of a godly leader—and offers sterling examples from Scripture and Christian history. Includes study guide.
In these pages, J. Oswald Sanders presents the key principles of leadership in both the temporal and spiritual realms, illustrating his points with examples from Scriptures and the biographies of emenent men of God.

Originally posted 2010-10-13 23:01:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

About Andrew Schank

Andrew Schank is an Independent Baptist Missionary/Pastor who loves to blog about spiritual matters! His main ministry website is Andrew is also a contributing author to two other blogs/websites including and Pastor Schank's Church website is
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