Facing Criticism As Leaders in the House of God

It’s really comforting and reassuring that even God himself was criticized by Satan. Satan temped Eve by calling God as a liar, as he contradicted God by saying that for eating that fruit, Eve will not die. He will be continuing at shooting his fiery darts at us, especially Pastors. Great anointed leaders like Moses, David all had their shares, not to forget Paul and Peter. Moses had the most terrible time in those 40 years when he was constantly criticized by his 3 million Jewish nation from food, to water, garlic, even after some of the greatest miracle’s humanity has witnessed. David was running away for his life not from some Philistine’s army, but his own son, Absalom! To say, that’s demoralizing is not scratching it, because Absalom almost killed him! The principle here is that God allowed some of these criticism come our way as pastors, because it’s precisely this that molds us, shapes us, even though restlessness, agony. No wonder Martin Luther who was often criticized on every side, said letting God be God is more than half of all true religion!

Jesus endured the reviling on the cross because he entrusted himself to God who will judge righteously in the end time. The ability to entrust ourselves in facing criticism unto the Lord God who will judge righteously is so empowering. Christ’s response to criticism against him should shape our minds our affections, determination in serving him in this hostile world.

Criticism humbles us and bring us down to face the reality of life as pastors are sometimes full of themselves by being so well trained in the scriptures, however dealing with people in the congregation with their emotions problems and challenges in life is another thing altogether. So sometimes criticism comes because God allows them to mold and shape us. Although sometimes they are unreasonable and this will warrant us to stand up to defend our own reputation and the word of God so that nothing is being dismayed. Therefore it will require us to receive them humbly and soberly and to look at it carefully and analyze, check our own hearts and motives. I love how David runs towards the Lord like in Psalm 139 and asked the Lord to search his thoughts and it’s always good to pray that kind of prayer as we face criticism.

It is so important to have a relational ministry in pastoral ministry and that will help us to absorb any criticism and also in the way we could respond to those criticisms with liberty and with care and grace. It is so much easier to handle criticism among friends. However of course there will be criticism from non-friends and we will need to be careful.

It is also important to know how we can critique our congregation when needed. Paul’s affection like in 2Cor 6:11 in the way he rebukes them with so much affirmation and love and passion. Richard Baxter said correctly that they will hear anything and bear anything from you when they see that you love them. Criticism to admonish is a job of a pastor. Without criticism we cannot prepare our congregation towards the judgment day when we all be required to answer for all our deeds and the words we have spoken.

It’s also so good to know that Paul suffers so much and he could bear the sufferings because he compared his sufferings to the eternal weight of glory 2 Cor 4:17. This eschatological vision should fill and saturate our minds and souls as pastors.

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