This morning when I opened my email, I received a message from a good friend of mine who serves as a pastor for his church. After reading his email my heart broke because of the discouragement a member in his church had caused him. After preaching his heart out on Sunday, one of his members scolded him with criticism. No uplifting comments about the powerful content of the sermon. No thank-you. Just one critical comment about the length of his message.
I’ve been there. That feeling you in the pit of your stomach when the response you get from your crowd has nothing to do with the content of your message. When you feel like beating your head against the wall because the just don’t get it. I’ve learned that there are people who can contribute to my ministry and there are those who discourage my ministry. And I have learned to not listen to those who discourage my ministry. Let me share with you a check-list of the people you SHOULD listen to:
1. Do they LOVE Jesus? (Matthew 22:37)
And their love has to be in that order. If they think more of me than they do the Church, then their thoughts are not all that valuable to me. They may boast of me, yet degrade the Church, and that’s not healthy.
Identify who these people are in your life. There won’t be very many of them. These are the people you want to give permission to speak into your life. These are the people from whom you want to genuinely take criticism.
As for everyone else, when they speak, hear them. Be nice to them. By the grace of God love them. But don’t take what they say to heart. The old adage that says “take everything with a grain of salt” is not healthy. Too much salt can cause high blood pressure. So can too many unsolicited comments that do nothing but break your heart.
How have you learned to handle criticism? Keep the conversation going by sharing your comments!