Critical Lessons Regarding Criticism

Over the years of my ministry I’ve put up with, and sometimes been seriously injured by, a fair (although at times I thought “unfair”) share of criticism from others … sometimes from those whom I loved dearly.  My attitude, dress, beard, leadership style, mode of transportation, Sunday afternoon activities, and even my height have been subjects of criticism.  Yes … I have been told that my height makes me too intimidating and I’ll admit that wearing that dress wasn’t the best idea … it DID look better on my sweet wife .

This morning I read a piece that I found affirming and encouraging and I’ll share bits of it with you here hoping that it will do the same for you.

“Here is a simple rule of thumb: if you are a leader you will be criticized. Period. If you’re not being criticized you might not be a leader! But how you handle it is so critical. A few months ago I heard Brian Houston say something so good and so true: “I’d rather be a film maker than a film critic.” His point? There are those who do and those who criticize those who do. I’d rather be a doer than a critic. And I’ve learned that the more critical a person is the less they’ve probably done  …  In the words of Teddy Roosevelt: “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or the where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood.”

Critical Lessons Regarding Criticism

“1) Thou Shalt Offend Pharisees. Jesus didn’t have the time of day for the self-appointed critics who formed the religious establishment. He didn’t back down. He confronted their hypocrisy. If you follow in Jesus’ footsteps, you’ll offend some pharisees along the way!

2) Don’t play defense. Life is too short to get defensive. Celebrate your weaknesses and failures. That’ll defuse criticism quicker than anything else. Keep a humble spirit but keep playing offense for the kingdom!

3) Consider the source! An insult from a fool is actually a compliment and a compliment from a fool is actually an insult.

4) Preach (and serve God) for an audience of one. The only person you’re accountable to as a preacher (or as a servant of God) is the One who called you into His service in the first place. Never forget it. And for the record, critics will also be held accountable for the criticisms they wield so easily and so quickly.

5) Don’t get into an argument! I love Proverbs 26:4, “When arguing with fools, don’t answer their foolish arguments, or you will become as foolish as they are.” The very next verse says, “When arguing with fools, be sure to answer their foolish arguments, or they will become wise in their own estimation.” Those back-to-back verse seem to contradict each other but I think they reveal a deeper truth: if you’re arguing with a fool you can’t win.”

Don’t be a critic. Don’t be discouraged by the critic.  Be a doer of deeds and let God justly reward both the critic and the doer.

Mark Batterson –


2 Responses

  1. Renee Garcia
    Renee Garcia September 29, 2009 at 11:39 am |

    I’m not in ministry, at least not in front of a church, I would hope that my life is a ministry… but I’m dealing with this issue heavily today. Thanks so much for this post! 🙂

  2. Tim
    Tim September 29, 2009 at 1:17 pm |

    Thanks for your comment Renee. Indeed whether you are in front of the church or not … you are always living before the world and THAT is the primary ministry that we have … at work, at home, at the shopping center … wherever we go. May God bless you as you deal with these challenges … ones we all deal with!

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