Dealing With The Critic and Those Who Have Wounded You

Dealing With The Critic and Those Who Have Wounded You

If you’re leading people, you will have critics. To clarify, constructive criticism is our friend and we should welcome it. What I am speaking of, is NOT constructive criticism. I am talking about the critic. The one who feels compelled to plays devil’s advocate. By the way, if you are playing the devil’s advocate that should be a telltale sign you’re not as helpful as you think and an indicator of what team you’re on. The critic is never hard to find. They are typically holding a glass that is half empty and their faces look as if they have been sucking on lemons.

One of the finest leaders of the Old Testament is Nehemiah. This guy was hammered by his critics! Chapter after chapter of this book we see the critic doing anything and everything to stop the progress of the intended mission.

The book of Nehemiah is proof that the critic has a plethora of tools to distract and discourage. In chapter 6 verse 17 we see the critic reaching into his tool belt, pulling out pen and paper and dispensing criticism by letter.

The trading of letters between Tobiah and the Jewish nobles is a trading of intelligence. Nehemiah is dealing with betrayal and deception. The intent of the letter is raise questions about his leadership and minimize Nehemiah’s influence. Ultimately, to stop the good work being done.

If you have ever had someone write something about you that was not true you understand the pain this must have caused Nehemiah. Nehemiah has been slandered to thousands of people and it has caused even some of those he leads to question him and the mission. So, what do we do when the critics or those who have wounded us seem to be making progress. First let’s start what not to do.

Five ungodly ways to respond to the those who have wounded you:
1. Fear. You begin to expect the worst in all people. You are now on the lookout for betrayal.
2. Withhold. We refuse to deal with the person that hurt us. We forgot the grace we have received and no longer extend grace.
3. Retaliate. You start using divisive words. You clearly want the person to know that you are hurt, and your intention is now to hurt them back.  It’s “hurt people hurt people” syndrome.
4. Doubt. How could God allow this to happen to me.
5. No wrestling. Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.

Five Godly ways to respond to those who have wounded you:
1. Pray. Nehemiah’s journey started back in Chapter 2:4 “So I prayed.”
2. Look to the word of God.  Remember when God calls you to a job site, He will ensure you complete it, according to Philippians 1:6.
3. Consider the source. If it’s a brother in Christ, Matthew 18 says “Go to your brother.”
4. Do what Jesus did. When Jesus was betrayed he responded by going to the father. The result was grace. Remember the cross when Jesus said “Forgive them father for they know not what they do.”
5. Make God the object of your affections. Don’t make the person who wounded you the place where your mind dwells. Instead be like Jesus and make God the object of your affections.

When we take a stand for the things of God and place ourselves in His will and are on mission, we should expect to be buffeted from the outside and the inside. When the critics revolt against you and the battle gets hard, remember that when you are weary and the knees are wobbly cry out to God and He will sustain you!

See you at the finish line!

Charlie

Can I get a church clap?

Can I get a church clap?

 

Pastors, such as myself, are not oblivious on how to get their church fired up with countless Amen’s and the occasional person shouting, “Preach it brother, preach!”  Here are a few ways to achieve this in my home church:

 

  • Say something positive about President Ronald Reagan. For some conservatives, Reagan should be part of the monument at Mt. Rushmore.
  • Say something negative about liberals.
  • With much bravado and intensity say something like, “We need to fight to keep prayers in our schools, let’s not let “them” take what is ours.” (Funny, call a prayer meeting at church and see who actually shows up.)

 

This is hardly articulate, I know, and perhaps a bit of hyperbole; however, I trust you get the gist of my approach here.

Pastor Jim Cymbala said something from the pulpit one time that floored me. He said, “I did not come here today to get amens, I have a bunch of those stored up from the last time I preached.” His point was, think about what gets you fired up and I did not come here for man’s approval.

Can I get real with you?   

What if your Pastor said Matthew 28 calls every single believer to make disciples. How are you doing with this mandate? Step right up, each one of you in the congregation, and give an account of who it is you are currently discipling. That’s right, step right up to the platform and provide names.

Ephesians 4:11-12 says that the church, the Christians, are to equip and train the other Christians to do the work of the ministry. How is that going for you today? Step right up and give an account. Who is it you’re training? Give me names.

I doubt the hallelujah choir would give you a church clap. They may, however, pick up a stone and hurl it at you. Now, I know we would never actually throw a stone, but we may consider getting into our cars after the service and say to our significant other things such as:

-That was a bit harsh and legalistic.

-It’s a busy season for me, but I am all over that once things slow down.

– That’s what we pay the pastor to do. It seems as if he is asking us to do his work.

-Maybe the Pastor woke up on the wrong side of the bed. He will go back to being normal next week.

 

The reality is each one of us will be held accountable to making disciples and training those same disciples for the work of the ministry. It has been said that disciples make disciples. Is that you? Are you making disciples? To bottom line this, if you’re in Christ and you’re NOT making disciples you need to start.

Here are ten things you can do to move toward obedience.

  1. Get discipled yourself and have the person discipling you train you on how to disciple as well.
  2. Be praying for a person or two that you can disciple. Ask God to reveal that person(s) to you.
  3. Have a plan? Time, Location, approved resource from your church.
  4. Have a prayer partner and mentor that will help you to develop as a leader/discipler.
  5. Select a resource that is gospel saturated and has questions to be answered at the end of short chapters. This is helpful to providing structure and guard rails.
  6. Start on time and finish on time. (My groups last one hour and fifteen minutes.)
  7. Allow ample time for questions, and not just questions about the resource.
  8. Be patient. It takes time for relationships to develop.
  9. Listen intently and take notes. The person you are discipling may need some help in certain areas, such as finance, sexual sin, anger, conversion, etc. Find and locate bible verses and articles that will support this person and, of course, begin teaching your disciple how to hunt and gather for himself.
  10. Thank God for the joy of being in gospel ministry. What a privilege it is to be used by God!

I like a good church clap just like the rest of us, however, better than a church clap is to hear the words of my Lord and Savior, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Faithful servants and faithful to the word of God, and the word of God is crystal clear as it says, “Go, and make disciples!”

Let’s Go!

Charlie Moulton