How To Get Past Criticism

Jul 2, 2019



Episode Description

The most common place where unhealthy thoughts develop in our minds as leaders is where we allow what others (who do not know us) to define us.

Jesus dealt with this…

…He had quite a ministry going on, was seeing some incredible success, would think everyone would be on board with the whole, “salvation of the world” thing!

But things get weird (even for Jesus).

Matthew 13:53-54

53 When Jesus had finished telling these stories and illustrations, he left that part of the country. 54 He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, “Where does he get this wisdom and the power to do miracles?”

At first glance in this story things seem to be going well for Jesus (and we’ve all had those seasons where things seemed to be going well.

But then...

Matthew 13:55-58

55 Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers—James, Joseph,Simon, and Judas. 56 All his sisters live right here among us. Where did he learn all these things?” 57 And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.

Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.” 58 And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief.

As I was reading this recently I had a “what the heck” moment?

Here’s the challenging thing about what they said - there WAS some truth to it…

Carpenters son - true

Knew Mary - true

Knew brothers - true

Knew sisters - true

However, because they “knew the truth” about Him, they were “deeply offended” and refused to believe in Him.

Some people will not be able to handle who you are becoming—and the only way they can rise up is by tearing you down.

Jesus paused, addressed the situation - and then moved on…and, in chapter 14 He performs two of His most famous miracles (the feeding of the 5,000 and Him walking on water.)

However, if He had allowed the scoffing to suffocate His vision - these miracles may have never happened.

AND—as leaders, if we pay too much time (or any time at all) paying attention to the wrong voices, I believe we can miss out on the amazing things the Lord has in store for us.

So how do we deal with scoffing?

S = Stop Listening To The Wrong Voices

Opinions should be weighed, not counted - everyone has a voice, but not an equal one.

And, no matter what you do - there will always be someone there to point out they believe you did wrong, for example...

Matthew 11:18-19 (NLT)

18 For John didn’t spend his time eating and drinking, and you say, ‘He’s possessed by a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ But wisdom is shown to be right by its results.”

Each one (Jesus and John the Baptist) had a different approach - and still each of them were criticized (by people who are nameless; after all, no one has ever built a monument for a critic!)

There will always be people who do not like you - and until you become secure with that you will miss out on all God has for you.

And - if a leader listens to wrong voices, you will teach those you lead to do the same.

When social media first became “a thing” I would read a negative comment, get obsessed with it…and then proceed to walk down the hall and show it to the people I served with, thus causing them to become angry and distracted.

If we want to lead people to a healthy place - then we ourselves need to get to a healthy place as well.

C = Concentrate On Your Calling

Just because people do not believe in you does not mean God has changed His mind about you!

One of the reasons Peter was able to accomplish so much is, despite the numerous times he failed, he knew he was called.

O = Operate In Confidence

One of biggest struggles I personally deal with is insecurity (I get nervous before every message.)

Confidence is developed over time - as we pray for it and then operate in it.

Side note - confidence enables us to do two things that are essential for success in leadership…

1 - Make a decision (one of the greatest problems with leaders is NOT that we lack the wisdom to know what to do—but rather the courage to actually do it.

2 - Admit when we are wrong and seek help to figure out the right thing to do.

The only way I’ve discovered how to develop confidence is to pray for it - and then to do my best to walk in it.

And - if I ever get to the point where I no longer need to ask God for confidence, the things I will begin to deal with is arrogance…because, if I don’t need God’s help with the next step in my leadership—then I obviously think too highly of myself—OR my next step is my vision (too small) rather than God’s vision (immeasurably more than all I could ask or imagine.)

F = Fight When Necessary

Most of the time (I would say 95%) we’ve got to let things go as getting caught up in an argument is simply a waste of our time.

However, sometimes we must address certain things…

Jesus, for the most part, never really dove into arguments, except for with the religious leaders (check out Matthew 23!)

Just because we have an opportunity to fight - it doesn’t mean we have an obligation to do so - we must choose carefully.

F = Focus on What Is Next

Scoffing (criticism) is a MAJOR distraction by the enemy as he wants to get your focus on wrong people/things…

…so, if you feel as if the criticism has been turned up a notch or two, then there must mean there is something valuable ahead of you!

(Remember, the enemy doesn’t break into empty houses - if he is trying to break you it’s because he fears what God is doing inside of you.)

When a season of scoffing seems to be hitting then it is time to really ask God about that next ministry step and not allow yourself to become distracted.

Every time I have personally taken my next step - scoffing has made sure to come along we well.

Topics For Discussion With Your Leadership Team:

1 - Describe a time in your leadership where you allowed the wrong voice to lead you rather than the voice of God to lead you.

2 - How did you KNOW you were supposed to be in ministry (tell your personal story).

3 - Describe a time in your life where you felt like you knew the right thing to do - but really wrestled with the confidence to do it—how did you push through?

4 - Talk about a time when you engaged in a fight you should have left alone—AND—talk about the one or two things you simply would not be able to walk away from if someone picked a fight.

5 - What do you really believe God wants to do next with you and your ministry…you know, that thing that has you both excited and scared?