Friday, October 4, 2013

Leadership -- Criticism

by Mark Altrogge

Mark Altrogge lists twelve things to do when you are criticized:
1. Be quick to hear

“This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger…” (James 1:19, nasb).

This can be hard to do because our emotions rise and our minds begin to think of ways to refute the other person.  To be quick to hear means we really do try to listen to and consider what the other person is saying. We don’t just write it off. Even if it seems unjust or undeserved.

2. Be slow to speak

“This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger…” (James 1:19, nasb).

Don’t interrupt or respond too quickly. Let them finish. If you speak too quickly you might speak rashly or in anger.

3. Be slow to become angry

Why? Because James 1:19-20 says the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Anger will not make someone do the right thing. Remember, God is slow to anger, patient and long-suffering with those who offend Him. How much more should we be.

4. Don’t rail back

“…and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously…” (1 Peter 2:23).  Jesus was unjustly accused, yet continued to trust the Lord and did not revile in return.

5. Give a gentle response

“A gentle answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1). Be gracious even to those who offend you, even as God is gracious to us when we offend him.

6. Don’t defend yourself too quickly

“…casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7)

Defensiveness can rise out of pride and being unteachable.

7. Consider what might be true in the critique, even if it is given in a poor way

Even if it is given with the intent to hurt or mock, there still might be something worth considering. God might be speaking to you through this person.

8. Remember the Cross

Someone has said that people won’t say anything about us that the Cross hasn’t said and more, which is, we are sinners who deserve eternal punishment. So actually, anything anyone says about us is less than what the Cross has said about us.  Turn to God who accepts you in Christ unconditionally despite your many sins and failures.  We can be discouraged when we see areas of sin or failure but Jesus has paid for those on the cross and God is pleased with us because of Christ.

9. Consider the fact that we have blind spots

We can’t always see ourselves accurately. Maybe this person criticizing you  is seeing something you can’t see about ourselves.

10. Pray about the criticism

Ask God for wisdom – “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8).

11. Ask others for their opinion

Share with others. Your critic could be right or completely wrong. If this is an area of sin or weakness in your life, then others will have seen it too.

12. Consider the source 

Don’t do this too quickly, but consider the other person’s possible motives, their level of expertise or wisdom, etc. They may be criticizing you to hurt you or they may not know what they’re talking about.

When you receive criticism, one of the first things to do is “casting all your cares upon Him (God) because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

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