Call me crazy, but I don’t particularly like criticism. I have enough “people-pleaser” in me that all criticism hits emotionally. Unfortunately, I’m not perfect, so I do things worthy of criticism. And, even if I was absolutely perfect, the rest of the world is filled with imperfect people. Jesus was perfect and, as you’re probably aware, He has TONS of critics.
All of us are going to face enormous criticism in life. The larger your platform in life, the more criticism you will receive. Last month, I had one of my posts go viral (it’s my most read post in four years of running this blog) and, through a set of circumstances, that post was shared on a message board. Let’s just say- they did not agree with my perspective.
You’re going to be criticized. Do have a plan for how to process criticism?
1) Look For the Grain of Truth or Lesson to be Learned In Every Criticism
Sometimes you have to dig really dip to find something to gain from an odd ball criticism. When I first started at my current church, a couple of parents were highly critical of me for not teaching the Bible and only playing games. This was odd to me for a number of reasons. First off, I had recently graduated from college with a double major in Bible and Bible teaching. Second, I recorded every message, and put them on the internet. Eventually, those families left the church over their concerns. Since I was already teaching the Bible each week, I couldn’t resolve their concern by starting to teach the Bible. However, what I could have done was communicate to parents what I was teaching their children.
2) Realize Their Criticism Represents a Different Perspective & Their Criticism Helps You Understand that Perspective
On October 1st, half of our nation celebrated a major step forward in making healthcare affordable for everyone. On that same day, half of our nation feared the horrible financial consequences related to new healthcare laws. One law, two perspectives!
You can learn a great deal about a person by looking at what they criticize, and how they criticize it. It starts to expose their values and their heart.
When someone starts to criticize you, do everything in your power to try and understand their perspective before you open your mouth.
3) Realize The Person Criticizing You May Have Bad Information
But, I think we’ve all had times where we found ourselves in an intense confrontation that turned out to be about NOTHING! Absolutely NOTHING! There was simply bad information or a misunderstanding. But, because our natural reaction is to get defensive and/or emotional, we escalate a fight about nothing!