In later posts we will address this in more detail, but we need be careful about our initial assumptions of people’s motive and character who look us in the eye and share a criticism. Not everyone comes across the right way, especially if they are upset, or nervous about speaking with you as pastor. It is also very important that we honestly listen to what is being said. This is so hard… isn’t it? It is even harder when you already have an issue with someone!
Learn To Be Thankful
(1 Thessalonians 5:181 Thessalonians 5:18
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
WP-Bible plugin) “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (KJV)
I, for one, have not arrived to a place in life where I get excited about someone critiquing me. Celebrating the bleeding wounds left by an irate church member, or a solemn, grave looking laymen in the church is not on top of my “to-do” list each week. However, I can be thankful for the opportunity, which God has providentially given, to exhibit the fruits of the Holy Ghost.
We can preach sermons impregnated with great instruction, but a sermon is shoes is much more palatable. Handling moments like these is very important to you, them and onlookers. This is an ongoing process that will be mixed with utter failure, but we can LEARN to be thankful for criticism!
Just yesterday I came across a great blog post that spoke to my heart on this aspect of handling criticism. The writer of this piece was relating that when criticized we should be thankfully reminded that we are in the “game”, and not on the sidelines. It is really easy for people to see things from the sidelines. Sometimes they get it right and sometimes they get it wrong, but, at least, we are usually trying to move forward!
3 Ways To Express Thankfulness For Those Who Criticized You
Below are three simple suggestions as to how to effectively be thankful for those who criticize you and show it.
#1 – Express Your Thankfulness Through Your Speech
(Proverbs 15:1Proverbs 15:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV
15 1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
WP-Bible plugin) “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” (KJV)
When you are criticized, do not try to defend yourself. Usually, this make things much worse and you leave the high ground. You become defensive and will, most likely, miss out on any helpful thoughts from the person. A simple, “Thank you for your thoughts!” will do you much good for a couple of reasons. One, it will help you gain the respect of the person who criticized you if they are truly trying to be helpful by their criticism in the first place. And two, it will serve to take the steam out of the person if they are simply trying to start a conflict.
#2 – Express Your Thankfulness Through Your Actions
When speaking with someone who is critical of you in some way, be sure to not make things worse by having a scowl on your face. As hard as it might be, keep a smile on your face. Shake their hand firmly, and maybe throw an arm around their back. Do not treat them inappropriately. Be kind and gracious. You never know… you might gain a true friend!
#3 – Express Your Thankfulness Through Your Prayers
I strongly suggest that you pray with the person before the criticism takes place. (That is, if you know it is coming – a pre-arranged meeting, etc.) When you are done speaking be sure to have a word of prayer as well. This is important! If someone is truly concerned about honoring the Lord Jesus with their reproof, then they will want to cap things of in the spirit of prayer.
Private prayer after the meeting is over when you are alone is important. Bitterness, anger, and contempt will seek a lodging place in your heart if you do not guard yourself. Sincere praise and thankfulness for the criticism is the only sure balm for your soul. Indeed, it is the only way to keep a sweet spirit!
I am not perfect in this area of criticism. I wish I were, but I feel that these things will help all of us handle criticism much better. Bottom line pastor, be thankful for those who criticize you and your ministry!
Be On The Lookout For The Next Post In This Series: Criticism – A Gift From God
Originally posted 2010-09-19 23:01:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter