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January 20th, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

21 comments (+ Add)

Keeping Things In Perspective

While uneducated or cruel critics can be distracting, try to keep things in perspective. Where I live, ministers’ (or Christians’) lives are rarely in danger for being a Christian. Countless numbers of believers have suffered gravely for their faith in Christ. If all we have to do is endure a few people complaining, blogging, or writing emails, we haven’t suffered much.

Besides, when someone takes a shot at us or our churches, if their criticism isn’t true or valid, what does it really matter? If we can stand before God with integrity, it doesn’t matter what someone else says. It only matters what God thinks.

Rather than honing in on the negative, I try to remember that our battle is not against flesh and blood. Instead of being sidelined by criticism, I choose to stay in the game and fight the more important fight.

The best way to avoid criticism is to not do anything significant. That’s one reason I don’t worry a lot when we receive occasional criticism. I worry more when we don’t.

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there are a total of21
  1. Jan 20, 2010 at 6:39 am

    That is where I have had to do a whole lot of work!!! Example If a Hammer falls on my toe..I react!!!! It HURTS!! I simply react to the SUDDEN JOLT OF PAIN usually with a @#@@## and AHHHHHH! I have learned now when I get suddenly zapped (physical pain) to get a pillow and scream into the pillow first until the initial sting wears off. What does this mean? Absolutely NOTHING LOL!!!

    Actually, not true…Harsh Criticism is a Spiritual “Hammer on the toe” and we can’t help but want to react to the pain…ouch it stings… But if we run to the “pillow” first…”God”…we can let our initial reaction out there and let it go….

    side note…I also liked how you named this post “KEEPING THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE”… Everyone is made completely different…shape, size, eyes…perspective is UNIQUE to each person…we can’t think because we see things “here” others will ever see things exactly how or I you see them…you are the only you/I am the only me…I would love to see God’s WHOLE “perspective” of us??? Probably like watching a bunch of ants working so hard, following the crowd, chasing after sugar crumbs, and making an abode/ life out of dirt and sand…thinking wow…there is so much more out there than that…
    Wow… I am just rambling now…

  2. Jan 20, 2010 at 7:22 am

    Great words Craig. Thanks so much. God has protected me over the years from that kind of criticism for the most part. I still remember those times when it was harsh and brutal in a verbal way. Those don’t leave you. Some were 30 years ago.
    I like your anecdote. Stay positive and on task. That’s the best way to defuse that kind of negative attack. I pray everyday for family members we have in other parts of the world where it is difficult. This is my prayer for them. “I pray that your Holy Spirit will keep the powers of darkness at bay in their lives.” This is a task that is not about flesh & blood, but the powers of darkness.
    Blessings,
    Dave

  3. Jan 20, 2010 at 7:28 am

    Your last paragraph is huge. Not sure who said it but someone said, “The sure way to fail is trying to please everyone.” Forward progress or moving something that has been set in concrete takes the willingness to catch some heat. Keeping that in mind helps me over some of the rough patches that are sure to come. Good thoughts again Craig.

  4. Jan 20, 2010 at 7:33 am

    I agree that only those who are doing something are who are going to be criticized for the most part. There are times when people do not do enough and they get criticized. I had to help some through dealing with citicism the other night and I used similar thoughts.

    Thanks for the reminders!

  5. Jan 20, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Well said, “If we can stand before God in integrity, it doesn’t matter what someone else says.” So often our pride gets on the line and we want the truth exposed, instead of realizing God knows the truth and really that’s all that matters. Living for an audience of “One” releases a ton of stress. Thanks Craig… this hits home.

  6. Jan 20, 2010 at 9:29 am

    “The best way to avoid criticism is to not do anything significant. That’s one reason I don’t worry a lot when we receive occasional criticism. I worry more when we don’t”

    When I first came into ministry this was one of the first things that my pastor told me. This is some of the best advice I have ever gotten.

  7. Jan 20, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Great post! I have a question for the community though. Being a younger Pastor, I feel many times that I am to overly concerned about what people think of our services, ministry, preaching, etc. How can one be free from what people think, and yet maintain an attitude of critiquing ministry, to make it more excellent?

  8. Jan 20, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Jay,

    I think there is a healthy tension here. Being concerned is good, because it causes you to seek God on all you do. Once you know what God is leading your church to be, hold onto that vision. Realize not everyone will like what you do and that’s a good thing. You are not trying to reach and disciple all people, just the ones God has for your church to reach. Forgive my simplicity, you cannot be all things to all people.

    Once you sense that you are in God’s zone, keep talking to Him about the times you are struggling with opinions. Surround yourself with people that are on board with you. Be open to different views, but hold the views up to vision. Learn from the different views and move on.

  9. Jan 20, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    As a pastor myself, it’s equally important for us NOT to criticize those who are critical of us just so we can feel better about ourselves.

  10. 11Tim Brassfield
    Jan 20, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Jay:

    You know you are on track when you take time to prayerfully consider the spirit vs flesh litmus test. Is what I am doing for the benefit of me (my flesh) or Jesus (Christ life within me)? The very fact that you consider the impact your service on others is evidence that you seeking to please Him. As Paul encourages us to let our lives represent whatever is true, noble, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy in Phil 4:8, I think if you are doing this in preparation and execution, you can walk in confidence that what you and your team have produced is pleasing to God and thus beneficial to those in attendance.

  11. Jan 20, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Jay,

    My opinion…Just make it excellent…perfect, no, always PC, no….just please God as if he were there each week/ let people know GOD LOVES THEM and KNOWS them individually …because GOD IS there(EVERY week…so go for it) and he is using you and your church as his mouthpiece to CHANGE LIVES!!!Focus on HIS WORD and just spread it like wildfire!!! People change by only the word of God..

  12. 13Ken
    Jan 21, 2010 at 12:24 am

    Jay, I think Craig shares about this a lot through his sermons and books. The idea is not to throw out criticisms all together… but, rather, CHOOSE your critics and council. A rude or gentle criticism can be equally true… the intention behind it is where we mostly have problems with. However, as leaders, I think we need to remove our emotions and analyze the criticisms head on. And the best way is to get counsel and wisdom on the legitimacy of the criticism and proceed forward. After a while, you will gain your own wisdom on what to ignore and what to give more thoughts upon.

  13. Jan 21, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    Thank you for all of the insight! Very helpful!

  14. 15Ken
    Jan 21, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    Jay, here was Craig’s sermon that you might find insightful.

    http://www.lifechurch.tv/message-archive/watch/difficult-people/1

  15. Jan 22, 2010 at 7:48 am

    [...] hits the subject of criticism in his post, Keeping Things In Perspective.  Good [...]

  16. Jan 22, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    “Besides, when someone takes a shot at us or our churches, if their criticism isn’t true or valid, what does it really matter”

    -So the question becomes one of defining what criticism is “true or valid?” Anyone can dismiss criticism and anyone can surround themselves with those who will only tell them what they want to hear.

    I would be interested to hear whether you have some sort of matrix or method to determine whether criticism is true or valid.

  17. Jan 22, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Good call staying in the fight.

  18. Jan 24, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    The Pharisees were critical. They needed to know Jesus…personally.

  19. 20David A
    Jan 30, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    If you are preaching the Gospel and edifying the church then your doing great. But if you are straying from Christ and Him Crucified then you are off. Look at your sermons? Are they glorifying God? You should be testing your selves because being a teacher you are under greater judgment. Keep that in mind. Glorify God or help our materialistic self centered God on the back burner lives? The best criticism is from the scriptures, what does Paul say to Timothy, what does Jesus say to the apostles and the religious leaders?

  20. Feb 13, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Keeping perspective is essential in all aspects of our lives and our faith. .