Let’s be real. You’ve been criticized and you will be criticized again. I don’t like it and neither do you. But when you lead, criticism is a cruel reality.
Criticism attempts to attack your heart. It can be sneaky. When you’re criticized, you will be tempted to put all of your energy into responding to the critic. You may need to. However, dealing with the critic is the least important response. The most important response is deciding how you will guard your own heart.
Here are 3 ways I recommend guarding your heart from criticism:
1) Search for any truth
I don’t like being criticized. People who criticize are uncool.
Critics often say things that are completely untrue. Sometimes they say things that are 75% false and 25% true.
It would be easy to focus on the critic’s lie and ignore a morsel of truth. However, your desire is to please God. So if you discover anything about you that doesn’t please Him, work to fix it regardless of who revealed it.
Your emotions will limit your ability to do this. Find a wise person who loves you enough to be honest with you. Then ask them to evaluate the critic’s claim and search for truth.
2) Trust that God sees all
“You’ll be tempted to respond. Don’t! Trust that the Righteous Judge sees all.”
Those were the words of a wise pastor who counseled a young pastor being wrongly criticized. I was that young pastor. I obeyed his advise and several years later I’m so grateful I did.
3) Stay focused on God’s purposes
If you’re focused on you, you won’t deal with critics well.
David had been king but later left the throne to run for his life because the people had turned against him. While he was down he was cursed, taunted, and criticized. In fact, one man traveled along with David and his army just to criticize him! (2 Samuel 16) Can you imagine that?! Not cool.
David eventually became king again and immediately the same criticizing man begged for forgiveness. Imagine the temptation David must have felt to repay this constant critic in his life! However, immediately David forgave him. Why? Because David was laser-focused on God’s purpose – becoming the kind of king that honored God. (2 Sam. 19)
God’s purpose for your life burns deep in your heart. Don’t let critics steal your focus.
When you’re criticized, above all else guard your heart!
HERE’S a good article offering tips on dealing with online criticism.