How to Handle Criticism Constructively

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How do you handle criticism?Dealing with criticism appropriately is a must-have skill for any pastor or ministry leader.  Here is some practical advice in understanding and dealing with criticism.

Christian author Deborah Bright, in the article, “Critics in Your Life,” suggests that some people “ask for it” by being poor organizers, agreement breakers, overly aggressive, social-norm violators, or too dependent upon the affirmation of others.

Pastor LaReau Thorwall wrote that pastors are criticized because they confront sin, serve as change agents, become easy targets for those with internal struggles, provide answers to life, and appear to be strong.

Although none of us wants to be criticized, here are five principles to remember:

  1. Expect to criticized.  Everyone receives criticism; no one is immune.
  2. Don’t ignore the pain of it.  Criticism hurts. Acknowledge the pain and let God work in that area of your life.
  3. Learn from criticism which is valid.  When the criticism is accurate, admit it and seek growth in that area.
  4. Don’t be controlled by invalid criticism.  Your critics won’t be right 100 percent of the time.  Be tough mentally so you can ignore criticism that is unwarrented.
  5. Weigh your critics, but don’t count them.  It is important that you don’t keep score, don’t get angry, irritated, or negative, and don’t react rashly.  Rather, recognize the criticism as an opportunity to serve those in the church by bringing them back to biblical patterns of thinking.

John Vawter

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