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.