Sinful Responses To Criticism | Coping With Criticism – A Pastor’s Nightmare

I am not sure what exactly it is in a leader which makes them somewhat hostile when criticisms arise. Many times a spiritual leader will tend to respond to criticism in a sinful way. It might not be very noticeable at first, but the root of retribution could be just beneath the surface.

Personal Testimony
I know from my own actions that it is real easy to respond to criticism in a sinful way. We must be careful to be directed by the Holy Ghost when responding to anything, but especially criticism. I have hurt my closest family members and friends, more times than I care to think about, by letting my flesh control my mouth! I’ll bet you have done the same thing. God warns us about this in James 3:5-12James 3:5-12
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! a matter: or, wood 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. course: Gr. wheel 7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: kind: Gr. nature mankind: Gr. nature of man 8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? place: or, hole 12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.  

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Common Responses

Many times we respond inappropriately to criticism. Listed below are some common responses to, what could be, our best ally in practical Christian living:

  1. Anger
  2. Resentment
  3. Hostility
  4. Bitterness
  5. Evil Communication
  6. Gossip
  7. Retaliation
  8. Close Mindedness
  9. Loss Of Friendship
  10. Hurt Feelings… To The Extent That It May Be Irreparable
How To Respond Appropriately


We are all human, but we can do our dead level best to respond to criticism in the right manner. Responding to criticism is crucial to Christian maturity. For many of God’s children, being criticized is what unravels us. Satan knows this and will seek to exploit it any time he gets a chance. Be on guard 24/7, especially if you are a pastor or spiritual leader.

Look For Our Next Post In This Series: What Goes Around, Comes Around  

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6016X: Whatever Happened to Worship? Whatever Happened to Worship?

By A.W. Tozer / Wingspread Publishers

Decrying much of contemporary worship as entertainment, Tozer says, “When we are worshipping…if the love of God is in us and the Spirit of God is breathing praise within us, all the musical instruments in heaven are suddenly playing in full support.” Originally preached as sermons at Avenue Road Alliance Church in Toronto, the chapters of Whatever Happened to Worshipconvey Tozer’s attitude and thoughts on Christian worship.

Originally posted 2010-10-29 23:01:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Thankfulness For Those Who Criticized You | Coping With Criticism – A Pastor’s Nightmare

Not too long ago, while speaking with the assistant pastor of my home church, it was related to me that when criticized it was important to respond in an appropriate manner. Anyone with a conscience wants to do this, but if we are honest about it, then we will admit that failure is commonplace. Thinking about the statements Brother Frank Shumate made to me included the purposeful, “Thank You!” to the one who criticized you. I will have to admit that I have never thought about it in that sort of way.

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.  

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) “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.  

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) “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

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Originally posted 2010-09-19 23:01:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

What Goes Around, Comes Around | Coping With Criticism – A Pastor’s Nightmare

There is an old saying where I grew up that went something like this, “What goes around, comes around!” Not only was that true in my life as a teenager, but also into adulthood. Hard lessons have been learned from this great axiom. When contemplating the subject of criticism, we find that nothing changes. In fact, this maxim’s accuracy is correct 100% of the time! Let us go a little further below the surface….


Note Our Previous Posts In This Series:

Coping With Criticism – A Pastor’s Nightmare | Introduction
Thankfulness For Those Who Criticized You
Criticism – A Gift From God
An Important, Self Examining Question
Examining The Sting Of Criticism
Assumptions On Our Part
Sinful Responses To Criticism.


General Bible Principle…
In Hosea 8:7Hosea 8:7
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

7 For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up. stalk: or, standing corn  

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, we find a phrase where this philosophy of “what goes around, comes around” could have been derived. Speaking of judgment upon Israel, Hosea remarks about the fruits of their unrighteousness coming home. The Apostle Paul spoke about this same idea in Galatians 6:7-9Galatians 6:7-9
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.  

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. We reap what we sow! The fact of the matter is that whatever we do in life, good or bad, will have consequences.

Though many verses of Scripture can be used to form a foundation for this idea, no other biblical event depicts this more than Haman and the Jews. You can find out more about this event by reading the Old Testament book of Esther, if you are not familiar with it. In this Biblical record, you will find a man who criticized, demonized, and sought the destruction of Mordecai, a Jew. He actually had gallows built so he could hang Mordecai! In spite of his best efforts, Haman was the poor soul who was put to death by those gallows.

From My Own Experience…

Growing up in a perpetual set of difficult circumstances, I was very prone to share my “mind” about others… without the least bit of reservation. Though very much a fault, it has taught me many valuable lessons. One of which is that I best be careful about pointing out fault in the lives of others. Grandma had a saying that we should sweep around our own door before doing so around someone else’s! I think she was very wise!

I do not have a shortage of personal stories of where I put my foot in my mouth, and did exactly what I accused others of doing. I have spoken very harshly about someone and they immediately performed a good deed for me… putting me to open shame! I share this in brevity to make it absolutely clear, no matter who we are, people are susceptible to criticize others and reap the consequences of their actions!

Encouragement For Today…

Knowing that criticism can be very helpful, no matter the motivating purpose behind it, God will see to it that right prevails in His timing. Mordecai had a rough time with Haman, but God worked things out. In my arrogance and stupidity, I have made many critical mistakes; harshly criticizing other people. I have reaped, am reaping, and will continue to reap from these awful seeds I have sown. I know that other people who have done the same to me will endure the judgment of God as well.
ConclusionMake no mistake about this, God knows what is going on. Never is there a word spoken that He does not hear. Take courage in the Lord when you are insulted, defamed, demonized, and criticized. God will take care of your reputation. Learn what you can from the friend of criticism and move on!

Look For Our Last Post In This Series: The Danger Of Over-Reacting! Coming soon…

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Will You Consider Purchasing…

10801EB: Object Lessons: 100 Lessons from Everyday Life - eBook Object Lessons: 100 Lessons from Everyday Life – eBook

By Charles C. Ryrie / Moody Publishers

What good is a broken fingernail? what can you do with a frying pan, a hammer, and an egg? How is a balloon different from a brick? The world around us is full of items useful for interesting and meaningful object lessons. Dr. Ryrie uses pencils, light bulbs, sunglasses, and even the air around us to illustrate truths about salvation and the Christian life. All of the objects are simple and easy to find, and the lessons can be used for any group of any age. Children and adults alike will enjoy learning more when you present these fascinating illustrations.

Originally posted 2010-12-03 00:01:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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