I am thin-skinned.
I do not like criticisms.
Perhaps many of you can say both of those statements with certitude. I know exactly how you feel. As one who has received criticisms over the years, I want to share with you personally five perspectives that have helped me deal with them. To be transparent, I don’t always focus on these perspectives. But, when I do, I find God working in me in a redemptive way.
- I deserve criticisms. My first reaction to criticism is usually defensiveness. I want to show why I am right and the critic is wrong. But the truth of the matter is I am wrong quite often. I am truly a sinner who has fallen short of God’s glory. Who I am to say, “I don’t deserve those criticisms”?
- No one made me accept this position of leadership. If you lead, you will be criticized. If you don’t want to be criticized, don’t lead. It’s easy to get excited about the fun aspects of leadership. But it comes with struggles, pain, and criticisms. Leadership is not always fun and easy.
- I need to pray for my critics. I don’t know what’s taking place in the lives of most of my critics. I don’t know their own hurts and struggles. I need to look out for the interests of others (Philippians 2:4). “Others” in that verse includes those who criticize me.
- Most criticisms last for a brief season. I should do a better job keeping the long-term perspective. I can remember too many times when I reacted viscerally to criticisms, only to forget about them in a week. Even though some of the criticisms become a part of the indelible world of blogs and social media, most are forgotten quickly.
- I need to have a better perspective of the cross. There is no trial, struggle, or criticism that comes close to the pain of the cross. My Savior suffered for me. He died for me. I should be ashamed of myself when I act like my world is falling apart because of petty criticisms.
Many of you readers are pastors and other church leaders. You get your share of criticisms. You know the pain. While I think I am unqualified to teach you anything about dealing with critics, I hope my own personal reflections have helped a bit.
And I appreciate you readers more than I could ever express adequately.