Friday, July 24, 2009

Taking Criticism

Had a conversation with someone this week in which they strongly felt the need to "critque" something I had been a part of recently. I've been in ministry long enough to know that sometimes people are going to say really good things about something you do and sometimes people are going to feel the need to tell you how much they didn't like something you did. If you have a "thin" skin, ministry is NOT for you. That said, here are a few ways I try to deal with criticism:

1. Listen well. James 1:19 & Proverbs 18:13 talk about the importance of listening. I want to be a great communicator, but I really long to be an even better listener.
2. Be patient, not rude when you answer. Look no further than 1 Corinthians 13 and you'll discover that responding with patience and humility is all a part of showing love to someone.
3. Ask for clarification, if needed. i.e. "Can you tell me what you mean by that?"
4. Look for the "kernel" of truth in everything.
5. Take responsibility, if needed.

Ideally, this is how I'd like to respond ALL the time. Thankfully, I did this past week, but can't say I have every time and know I won't every time. Sometimes, to be honest, I'm close to poking someone in the eyes if they keep talking. :) But, I know for me, it's all in how someone comes to me. If they come looking for a "fight" ... well ... cover your eyes b/c they might get "poked." :) But, if they come with a sense of respect and an attitude of "We just need to talk this out" I'm much more apt to respond well and do not mind at all listening to the criticism. I know I make mistakes and fail at times and want to be held accountable when I do.

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