If you’re afraid of criticism, you might not want to be a pastor. Pastors routinely wake up and go to their closet to put on their underoos that apparently say “Please please oh PLEASE criticize me today for the way I wear my shirt / the way I preach my sermon / the way I lead my church / the way I raise my kids / the books I read / the movies I watch / the movies I don’t watch / the movies that my third cousin who I’ve never even met watched one time but now he doesn’t because he converted to being Amish.”
Well actually, nobody ever could wear a pair of underoos like that unless (a) the print was really tiny or (b) their rear end was really big.
Editor’s Note: You’re going to get criticized for that.
This week, we’re going to talk about the subject of criticism: what it is, how to deal with it, and how to deliver it. Pastors aren’t the only ones who receive the joy of criticism; all of you have dealt with it from time to time. Criticism doesn’t have to be bad. It can be just the opposite (“good,” in case you’re keeping score at home). Here are a few things that I’ve learned about criticism as we get started:
- Criticism is certain. If you’re breathing, you’re eventually going to be criticized. (Especially if your breathing turns to snoring and you keep your spouse awake.) The trick is not avoiding criticism, but learning how to deal with it.
- Criticism teaches us. We learn not only from the things that are true, but the things that are untrue. In criticism we expose our folly and strengthen our wisdom. Our responsibility is to discern which is which.
- Criticism exposes our idols. Some of us have the idol of the kingdom of self. Some the idol of the fear of man. Some, perfectionism. Some, procrastination. Some, disorganization. Whatever the idol, the criticism that is most likely to affect us is the kind that exposes the thing we’ve set up as god.
Other posts in this series:
- Deconstructing Criticism: Receiving It
- Deconstructing Criticism: Using It
- Deconstructing Criticism: Giving It
- Deconstructing Criticism: Ask for It