This morning at our “Fantastic Friday” Fellowship, we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast, great fellowship and spent some time reading and discussing the Word. It’s always a great time and we invite you to join us each friday morning at 9:00 a.m. in the Educational Building.
Today, we continued our exposition of Titus as we worked through the qualifications of an elder in the N.T. Church (more of a list of “Who a man is” than “what a man does”…just food for thought). As we did so, we saw the Apostle Paul make clear that the elder is among other things, “level headed”.
We discussed what that means in relation to leading the church- Being patient with others, not bullying his way around and certainly….handling criticism.
Like it or not, with leadership comes criticism.
This certainly isn’t only true for those with Pastoral roles, as every one of us deal with our fair share of critics on a pretty frequent basis. In other words, if you are breathing, you’ll experience critics. It is a given.
But in keeping within the context of Titus 1 (Elder qualifications), let’s take a moment as leaders and think over the appropriate, Biblical, level headed way we are to deal with the inevitable fact that we’ll be criticised at some point.
Critics Should Be Heard
Contrary to opinions from several prominent figureheads in the evangelical world, not all criticism is of satan. As a matter of fact, rightly motivated criticism is Biblical. When the Apostle Paul had strong words of rebuke/correction for various churches in his Epistles, he wasn’t doing so with a depraved heart. It WAS of God. It was profitable (so much so that we are STILL learning from it today). Jesus Himself offered much critique throughout His ministry, all rightly placed, all with Holy intention.
To cast aside any and all critique of our ideas, methodologies, aspirations, so on is exceedingly dangerous and smacks of pride.
I say this because sometimes… others can see what can’t. God not only imparts discernment upon myself but gives it to those around me (i.e. people He has sovereignly placed in my life). At the end of the day, I give an ear to critique because there is that possibility (no matter how remote) that I could be wrong from time to time (insert sarcastic grin here).
I DO want to also say, though, that when handling criticism we need to make sure we….
Consider The Source– while I believe we’d be wise to always lend an ear to critique, we’d be foolish to not give an eye to who it’s coming from as well.
You and I both know that there are many who feel their “Spiritual gift” is to find fault (not sure what Bible they read). I think some of them may even sincerely believe they are simply “guarding the church” through discernment when they are actually quenching the spirit with a argumentative attitude. Therefore, when critique is being offered, let’s make sure it’s coming from a reputable, thoughtful, loving and Gospel minded person with good intentions before we submit ourselves to it.
Quick Note on this- I try to ALWAYS at least listen to criticism. I really do. There is only one occasion where I will not give it a moment of time and that is if it comes in a anonymous form such as unsigned letter (yes, i’ve gotten a couple of those in 10 years of ministry) or a “Well, I can’t say who but SOMEONE said (fill in the blank)”. I could be wrong here but I’ve always felt that if it’s important enough to bring up, it should be important enough to attach a name to.
Understand The Motive-one of the best ways to gauge the validity of a specific critique is the motive behind it.
If the motive is loving correction, Biblical concern or it is Scripturally motivated….then we should listen intently and provide a thoughtful response (in Word or deed). If the motive is to win a personal argument or to push an agenda, we don’t spend a lot of time hashing that out. Be discerning here.
Learn From It…Don’t Die From It– I’ll admit it, I’ve not always been very good in dealing with critics.
As a matter of fact, I used to die a little every Monday morning. I have always called Mondays my “Holy Hangover” because inevitably, after pouring myself out on Sunday and even after hearing a ton of encouraging words….it would only take one person with one negative remark pushed me over the edge. I cannot tell you how many “Letters of Resignation” I’ve written on Monday mornings over the last several years.
Truthfully-The problem wasn’t critcism…it was my mishandling of it.
Instead of looking at it from a viewpoint of “Well, maybe they have good intention here…. maybe they have a good point” or even “Well, they are dead wrong but at least I know what area I can help them to grow in“, I took it as “everybody is against me and satan himself sparked those remarks!”. My attitude, demeanor, disposition was contingent upon the emotion that the criticism stirred up in my heart. That is a dangerous way to live life.
I simply believed that every cross word was indicative of satans working to hurt me through a critic.
While that may be true of some, it’s not always the case. As a matter of fact, in my experience, it ‘s usually not. Often, God uses a discerning word from people who love Him and who love US to guide us in life. He most certainly speaks through His people!
Lastly…We Are to Measure EVERYTHING with the Word…That includes critique.
I cannot express to you how important this is. Our success of failure in dealing with critics hinges on our obedience to this truth.
Look, at the end of the day, there are consequences to how we deal with critique
Critical remarks Wrongly Dealt With Lead To…
Critical Remarks Rightly Dealt With Lead To….
*Clarity of Mind
*The Creation of an enviroment where we are approachable
*People who will follow our leadership (nobody follows a “unteachable know-it-all”)
So, yes. Criticism will rear its head. Sometimes its head is ugly. Sometimes its beautiful. Yet whatever form it may be in, we can grow from it…just be discerning.
Love You All and Soli Deo Gloria!- Pastor Kyle
LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU SUNDAY AS WE GIVE A SIMPLE GOSPEL PRESENTATION, BAPTIZE, AND WORSHIP CHRIST TOGETHER…PLEASE INVITE SOMEONE!