I have discovered that the more you succeed or excel people will criticize you. It does not matter what field you are in – business, church, education or politics. Criticism comes with the territory. So if you want to lead – be ready for negative comments. If you have a drive succeed – expect the haters to come out of the dark.
Jesus faced criticism. He hardly ever responded. The religious always threw insults and negative comments in Jesus’ direction. But when Jesus responded He was direct (Matt 18:15). He did not skate around the issue. But He never took it personal either. Jesus focused on what was said and not how he felt about it (Mark 3:23-26).
So here’s how I handle criticism:
- If they are not my friends I reject their criticism. I choose not to listen to those who are outside my circle. I only allow those who compliment me to criticize me.
- I look at any criticism and ask, “Is there any merit?” In others words, I find that sometimes what I label as unjust criticism is really someone seeing a red flag that I have missed.
- If the criticism is right – I make a course correction. I will not wait for someone else to adjust me – I make immediate adjustments.
- If the criticism is wrong – I eject it from my heart. I refuse to let it take root. I can’t meditate on it … so I just change my focus. I get back on track asap.
- I ignore critics. I don’t respond. I won’t respond. I will not give them the satisfaction of “stealing” my attention. I don’t have to defend myself – I have the best advocate.
- I won’t take it personal. I have learned that ‘hurting people hurt people.’ People who walk around with critical comments for everything are just exposing their own hurts and brokenness.
All of us are going to face criticism – especially once you start to really excel. If you want to be liked by everyone stay where you are – but if you want to succeed get ready for the haters and debaters to come out of the woodwork.
But the best advice are the words of Jesus, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you …” (Matthew 5:44).