Criticism Helps

It happens to everyone, but especially preachers. You may even hit a stretch where everyone loves what you preach, and how you lead. Of course that may be what you hear, but who knows what’s going on behind your back.

Sooner or later, it will happen. Criticism happens. And when it does you have a few choices, depending on your maturity, heredity, state of mind at the moment, and spirituality.

You can react, and go redneck. Yes, the over 200-years of Irish redneck DNA in my system does not go to “flight” mode. It automatically shifts into “fight” mode. I have to submit that sucker at times with a rear naked choke until it passes out, weakened on the floor of the cage. He’s a hard one at times. I mean, we preachers have to be nice to everybody, so when the time comes to go Jack Bauer on some self-righteous-know-it-all, you hear the voice of Bruce Buffer…or, I mean God, say, “It’s t-i-m-e…to be patient, control your tongue, love your neighbor. ”

A friend of mine says old retired preachers in nursing homes tend to cuss more than your regular retiree. I understand it. All those years of pent up self-defense, anger, false accusations, misunderstandings, betrayal, and righteous indignation explodes on the scene like some volcanic eruption that has been simmering for millennia. But alas, it is wrong…I guess.

Paul sure didn’t have a problem letting it rip at times. But he was also so quick to repent, make amends, and put the Gospel first.

Criticism purifies us. It helps us check our motives, our theology, and it actually strengthens us (if we don’t let it turn us into a crabby, mean, person with resentments out the wazoo).

I had my opportunity this past week, and I know it won’t be the last. So, as the soldiers say, “Embrace the suck.” Listen, learn, tell the truth, and never back down from an encounter when you have something to learn…even if it’s tough.

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2 Responses to Criticism Helps

  1. Pam Glass says:

    Too funny!! I relate all too much.

    Born and raised in West by God (who else?) Virginia … that’s my excuse for acting like a red neck. My “sucker,” so to speak, seems to be a slippery one. It’s the type that slips out of the mouth BEFORE thinking has occurred. Well, at least before profound thinking has occurred.

    Certain “fruits” are very difficult to pray for – like patience … and humility … but some of us figure out that God has to teach us stubborn types by “experience” and “more experience” and then “more experience,” etc., etc. You know – the type of person who likes to take ten trips around the mountain when one was sufficient.

    In the not too distant past I realized I was getting lots of experience in the two previously mentioned fruit areas even though I hadn’t prayed for those fruits specificalyy. I believe I MIGHT have prayed for a “bigger & better” fruit with so much sincerity and earnestness and perseverence that God decided to see how badly I desired my request. God indicated to me over time in a not very subtle manner that HE felt I needed the two previously mentioned “fruits” or would at least find them very useful in the journey I wished to take. Finally, I agreed with the possibility that the “patience fruit” could be useful and gave God the go ahead since He was being so insistent. Please note that I never actually prayed for “patience.”

    Humility has been a natural by-product of having patience lessons showered upon me.

    The process is definitely purifying as you said. And anything that purifies checks our motives. The humbling experiences always bring me back closer to God as I once again realize that I’ve tried to do it all on my own. I’ve tried to MAKE things happen. I’ve taken the steering wheel away from God again. I like to drive!!! I like to be the one who decides which route we’re going to take. I like to decide when we’re going to leave. I like to be the one controlling the gas pedal and the brake. And I also like to pick the music and the temperature.

    Riding in the passenger’s seat can be quite challenging for a control freak who isn’t real keen on patience. Have you ever felt like you have no say in the matter? Have you ever felt like you have to WAIT for everything to happen? Have you ever had lots of questions and few answers? Have you ever felt as though you might as well roll over and take a nap? … But, NO, you can’t. That would be rude to the driver.

    God wanted me to STAY AWAKE and ALERT and talk to Him and listen to Him and ………ENJOY the Journey and…and what? … Let go and TRUST HIM. HE says HE knows what HE’s doing. He’s already got it mapped out and if I’ll let HIM, HE can keep me on course. HE even said if I forget and get off course that He’s just like a GPS. He can reroute me and get me back on course. God told me that HE’s already made hotel reservations and dinner reservations along the way and I booked a show which you’ll love. HE said, “It’s all set up. I have gone on ahead of you and have provided for you before you even arrive. I’ve provided for you before you’ve even departed on your journey. Everything has been taken care of.” Then God said to me, “I just want you to relax and enjoy yourself and in order for you to do that – you have to trust me.” … … Silence. …

    “Oh, there is one more thing,” God said; “I would like it if you’d continue talking to me and listening to me while we make this journey. I enjoy your company. I love to be with you!”

    That’s how he taught me humility. I love God.

    I’m not sure why I wrote all of this. I’d kind of like to delete it, but God is saying “Hit the “Submit Comment” button quickly.

  2. timholt says:

    Thanks, Pam! Great insight!

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