Warning—this post is going to be brutally honest!!!
I’ve been thinking about criticism a lot lately for some reason. The fact is this—if you do what I advised you to do yesterday—dream big—and the Lord begins to use you to accomplish His purpose then the fact is you are going to be criticized. There’s just no way to get around it.
And let me say this before I venture on…criticism always hurts. There is really no way to get around that either. People will always say things like, “Don’t let it bother you;” however, they don’t understand that it is YOU that just took the verbal jab…and it does sting.
So how do we deal with this? Is there a proper way to handle the critics? Jesus said we are supposed to love people…but what about when we don’t want to—what about the times we would like to get small minded people in a room for about five minutes, lock the doors and…well, I’ll stop right there. (Trust me…if you are in the ministry OR a leader in any capacity—you have felt like this—and don’t even pretend you haven’t!!!)
Here is some advice from me…so you can take it for what it is worth. (And this is fresh stuff, for those who are not in Anderson, SC; our local newspaper has a section in it called “straight talk.” It is where people can call in and leave a message on an answering machine about whatever they wish to talk about…and then the paper selects certain ones for print. This is an every day event…and it is usually very funny. However, myself AND Newspring has managed to be a target of criticism for the past several days—and so this is how I am personally dealing with things.)
#1 - Always remember this—the biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest people with the smallest minds. I challenged you yesterday to dream big. I do! Newspring does! But be careful—many people do not dream big…and so when a person or a church dreams big and begins to attempt great things…small minded people come out in droves. (I have discovered that many serve on committees!) The thing you MUST remember is to not let small minded people dictate God’s agenda for your life.
#2 - You can’t fix stupid! I was told that by a friend of mine several years ago. I was complaining about being the target of criticism and he replied to me, “Perry—you can fix a lot of problems in this world…but you can’t fix stupid—with some people it’s just a permanent condition.”
He went on to explain that our church was seeing marvelous results—people were becoming Christ Followers, marriages were being restored, children were loving church, the poor were receiving ministry, church was exciting…all of this amazing stuff was happening…and that anyone who had the audacity to criticize such a move of God had to be flat out stupid—there was really no other explanation.
#3 - A kingdom divided against itself will surely fall. A great guy once said that…and He was so right.
I have discovered something when it comes to criticism—the only people and/or churches that have time to criticize others are the ones that aren’t doing jack squat for the kingdom. I believe if they would spend more time looking inward at their own problems and less time trying to point out the problems that others have then the Kingdom would be experiencing some marvelous growth.
I simply don’t have time to criticize other personalities. I am to busy trying to lead a ministry and come up with solutions to the challenges that we face everyday. I am not perfect—so how dare I try to tell others how to be.
My thoughts are this…the only person who would criticize a move of God is a jealous, angry, bitter person. And the other thought is that God would NEVER lead a person to criticize something that He is involved in. Well…uh…let’s see—if the criticism is not God led—then who is responsible? Hmm…just know that if you are doing what God desires…and you are being criticized…then it will help to view the critic as a tool of satan. (I make no apologies for that statement!!!)
When it comes to dealing with critics…Jesus dealt with them. Remember the Pharisees? And when it came to dealing with them He pulled no punches, He even referred to them as snakes, vipers, and whitewashed tombs. This is the attitude I have to take—that the religious will always criticize a move of God…and it breaks my heart because when you boil it down—even though the Pharisees were religious—they didn’t have a relationship with Jesus! Yes, we do have to love them…but often times love is being bold and in your face.
Personally—I am to PO’d at the devil to fight with other Christians.
#4 - Only listen to people who love you. I will be honest…I don’t take criticism from anyone; however, I will receive correction from people who I know love me. There is a difference between criticism and correction. Criticism is often done with a mean spirit and false motives; correction is given in a positive but firm manner. So when it comes to my life…I can’t listen to people who don’t love me…who don’t know my heart—and you can’t either.
Well—that’s about it for today. And yep, I meant what I said—every word of it. I hope this helps…it sure did help me! :-)