Hope in the Midst of Criticism

Criticism in ministry seems to come in waves, at least in my experience. We seem to enjoy sweet seasons of an encouraging and upbeat atmosphere in our church body, and then – wham! You find out in a week or two that people aren’t quite as pleased with you as you had been thinking. I think no matter how many years my husband and I are in ministry, criticism will never cease to be hard. My gut will always twist into a knot, I’ll always not know what to say in the moment, and at some point there will probably be some tears. And as much as I’ll never be a huge fan of being criticized (or much worse – my husband and kids being criticized), I know Proverbs speaks truth about the wounds of a faithful friend (Proverbs 27:6), even though my emotions say otherwise. Criticism can be dangerous; it can turn us into people-pleasers instead of God-pleasers.  But there is another danger – and that is no criticism at all. A real understanding of truth-speaking from the Bible will have you praying, “God, deliver us from being surrounded only by ‘yes’ men.” The last couple of weeks has given me another chance to hone my skills in accepting criticism with grace. Here are a couple of things God has brought to my attention afresh:

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About Sarah Johnson

Sarah has been a pastor's wife in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and in Utah County, the center of Mormonism. She can't think of two more opposite places in the US, but each has been a special joy. She has 5 children and spends most of her time homeschooling and ministering alongside her husband at Fellowship Bible Church. Sarah loves the great outdoors and feeding people and agrees with C.S. Lewis that, "you can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."

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