How Do I Deal With Criticism?

At some point, we all deal with criticism of some kind. In this episode of Ask Me Anything, Pastor J.D. talks about how to deal with criticism when it comes your way.

Show Notes:

  • We’ve talked before about how to lead through criticism, but I’d like to tackle this more generally, because we all receive criticism. So, how do you deal with it?

Get over your idolatry of others’ approval.

  • Kabod , one of theHebrew words the Bible uses for idolatry, literally means weight.  So you’re giving something glory — you’re worshipping it — when you give it an undue amount of weight.
  • The fear of man means that you depend on people—their opinions, their approval, their presence — as a source of life and happiness. (Ed Welch: When People Are Big and God Is Small)

Don’t get super callous.

  • Tim Keller said that for some people, totally ignoring criticism can be a sign of pride. A lot of people are immune to criticism because they so confident they are right and because they feel that others are so far beneath them.

Learn from criticism.

  • In 2 Samuel 16, there’s a story about a man named Shimei who criticized King David. David’s men said, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head.” But David wouldn’t do it, because he thought perhaps God had appointed this man to keep him humble or teach him something.
  • I have learned some really valuable lessons from critics — many of whom probably approached me with bad motives… but they were right. And upon reflection, I realized there was something good in that for me. That doesn’t mean what they did was justified or they did it in the right way, but I still want to be able to learn from it.

Consider the source.

  • People often assume the worst about your motives or the intelligence you use in your decisions.
  • An accomplished historian once told me, “To understand someone is to forgive them.”
  • Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, said to always keep the mentality that, “My co-workers are smart and have good intentions.”
  • I have a handful of people whose opinions I trust and I know see my motives, and criticism from them means more than it does from anyone else.

God is greater than my heart.

  • The opinion of God is always more important than what others say. Like Paul said, if we sought to please men only, we wouldn’t really be servants of Christ.
  • Maybe you’re your own worst critic, but know that God is greater than your heart. In him, you are his, you are forgiven, you have a purpose, he’s appointed you for good works, he’s anointed you to become fruitful and be useful in his kingdom… he’s made all kinds of promises about how he sees you once you’re in Christ, and the incredibly useful, gifted, beautiful, talented person he’s making you into.
  • When your heart tells you you can’t do anything right, trust God’s opinion instead.


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