Jared Wilson: . . . Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? – 1 Corinthians 6:7 The biggest problem in my life and ministry is me. And the biggest problem among my many idiosyncratic problems is the impulse toward self-defense and self-justification. The Lord has been working well on me over the last several years in this area, and I do think, by his grace, I have gotten better at suppressing this impulse, denying it, even going into situations I know will include much criticism directed at myself having proactively crucified it for the moment. But my inner defense attorney (a voting partner in the ambulance-chasing firm of Flesh & Associates) is always there, crouching at my door, seeking to rule over everybody by arguing in my quote-unquote “favor.” Crucifying the defensive impulse is so difficult because it essentially means choosing to allow others to misunderstand you, misjudge you, and even malign you. (Of course, many times the painful things
The cross and criticism
“In light of God’s judgement and justification of the sinner in the cross of Christ, we can begin to discover how to deal with any and all criticism. By agreeing with God’s criticism of me in Christ’s cross, I can face any criticism man may lay against me. In other words, no one can criticize me more than the cross has. If you thus know yourself as having been crucified with Christ, then you can respond to any criticism, even mistaken or hostile criticism, without bitterness, defensiveness, or blame shifting. Such responses typically exacerbate and intensify conflict, and lead to the rupture of relationships. You can learn to hear criticism as constructive and not condemnatory because God has justified you.” — Alfred Poirier “The Cross and Criticism” The Journal of Biblical Counseling (Vol. 17, No. 3, Spring 1999) 17 (HT: Of First Importance)
Am I Receiving and Giving Criticism in a Godly Way?
Justin Taylor posts: Alfred Poirier summarizes four points: 1. Critique yourself. How do I typically react to correction? Do I pout when criticized or corrected? What is my first response when someone says I’m wrong? Do I tend to attack the person? To reject the content of criticism? To react to the manner? How well do I take advice? How well do I seek it? Are people able to approach me to correct me? Am I teachable? Do I harbor anger against the person who criticizes me? Do I immediately seek to defend myself, hauling out my righteous acts and personal opinions in order to defend myself and display my rightness? Can my spouse, parents, children, brothers, sisters, or friends correct me? 2. Ask the Lord to give you a desire to be wise instead of a fool. Use Proverbs to commend to yourself the goodness of being willing and able to receive criticism, advice, rebuke, counsel, or correction. Meditate upon the passages
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Cheer up! You’re worse than you think
I love this application of the gospel by Bob Glenn: One of the occupational hazards of pastoral ministry is that you are often the subject of people’s destructive criticism, gossip, slander, misrepresentation, foolish inferences, ignorant speculations, and the like. And any pastor who’s being honest with himself – even a hard-nosed guy like me – will admit that the hurtful things people say are just that – hurtful. They hurt. How do you heal the hurt? How do you prevent the hurt from festering, from becoming a root of bitterness toward your enemies? The answer is to remember this: you are far worse than your enemies make you out to be! They don’t know the half of it. Now they may not be correct or truthful in what they are saying about you, but you (and your spouse) could tell them things about yourself that would make their mouths hang open in shock and disbelief. You could tell them things about yourself
Giving and Receiving Criticism in Light of the Cross
My thanks to Justin Taylor for this: Some notes below from Alfred Poirier’s excellent article “The Cross and Criticism,” first published in The Journal of Biblical Counseling (Spring 1999). Definition: I’m using criticism in a broad sense as referring to any judgment made about you by another, which declares that you fall short of a particular standard. The standard may be God’s or man’s. The judgment may be true or false. It may be given gently with a view to correction, or harshly and in a condemnatory fashion. It may be given by a friend or by an enemy. But whatever the case, it is a judgment or criticism about you, that you have fallen short of a standard. Key Point: A believer is one who identifies with all that God affirms and condemns in Christ’s crucifixion. In other words, in Christ’s cross I agree with God’s judgment of me; and in Christ’s cross I agree with God’s justification of me. Both have a
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From Marcus Honeysett: Recently a church leader friend reflected with me that he is on the receiving end of criticism that he feels is not only unmerited but also comes from people who don’t know what they are talking about. Most church leaders will relate to that. I certainly do at this moment in time. This previous post on worship being the antidote to criticism helped me as I reflected on it this morning. Criticism dries up our spirits unless we take it to the Lord, throw ourselves on his mercy and ask for his help. If you are currently being criticised then receiving grace today is even more vital for you than it normally is (and it is normally overwhelmingly vital!). Worship is the refuge that allows us to respond to criticism well rather than defensively. Worship is the means by which God is allowed to be bigger in our perspective than our critics. Worship allows us to not