It doesn’t matter if you’re the soccer coach for 5-year-olds, a member of the city council, or the Pope….you’re going to have critics. I’m not talking about the professional critic that writes his assessment of a Broadway play for a newspaper, or one who publicly talks about the latest Brad Pitt movie. No, I’m talking about the ‘amateur’ critic; you know, the ones you and I encounter almost every day.
It’s just one of those, kind of, unpleasant facts of life. It just seems inevitable that if you’re doing anything that’s public or anything that really matters that there’s going to be someone ‘standing around’ criticizing either, what you’re doing…..or how you’re doing it. These criticisms can come in many forms and some of them can be quite vicious.
I know, in doing what I do, that character is extremely important. And the criticisms that come my way that strike at my character are the hardest to deal with for me. I learned years ago that anyone can make any kind of accusation toward you. The accusation might not have a single shred of truth to it…..but there always seems to be those out there who want to believe the worst about you. Below are some things I’ve learned in over 25 + years of being a target of criticism:
- I’ve learned to look at myself and see if there’s any validity to their accusations. If so, I’ll need to adjust!
- It’s taken a while but I don’t get as upset as I used to when I’m criticized. It’s just part of the ‘deal’!
- I’ve learned to pray for my persecutors; Very hard at first, but I know it’s ‘right’! This helps me….more than them!
- I’ve resolved to not get too stirred up by someone who talks ‘about’ me…..but won’t talk ‘to’ me!
- These criticisms seek to distract us from what’s important. I try to get my focus back ‘on’!
As much practice as I’ve had……I’m still far from perfect. We should look to Jesus; He’s the perfect example when it comes to enduring criticism and persecution!
One of my very favorite quotes about criticism:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Teddy Roosevelt