Thank you to everyone who commented and sent me private emails encouraging me after Monday’s post on listening to God’s truths rather than critical comments from others. The topic of criticism is such a sticky subject, and one we all struggle with, including myself – and it’s always nice to hear a sweet word of encouragement!
But despite one person’s encouragement, another person’s criticism can still be hard to manage. Even if someone’s critical comment wavers on the fine line between honest truth and destructive criticism, and even if we know that there is some truth to their criticism, it can still come across as an attack on our integrity if it is done in a hurtful manner. When this happens, we should always try to respond in love, but the reality is that it still hurts the heart.
Serving in ministry in any capacity always opens the door for criticism in every area of our life. Sometimes we are criticized that we not doing enough, or are trying to do too much. Sometimes we are criticized for stumbling in our faith, as if perfection is expected. Sometimes we are criticized for agreeing with things that other people disagree with, such as decisions on what we do in our personal lives, or what we allow our children to do.
For example, recently I had someone question my decision for allowing my daughters to wear two piece bathing suits. I’m sure all you moms out there with daughters will agree, that this ‘mom decision’ is a hard one.
I firmly believe that modesty is of the utmost importance, and this has been a topic of discussion since the day my daughters were old enough to pick out their own clothes.I have vetoed more outfit choices that I have numbers to count, but when it comes to bathing suit choices, there is a fine line.
Bathing suits these days, for sizes ranging from toddlers to grown women, have grown increasingly smaller. I never cease to be amazed why they cost so much, for such a small amount of fabric?!
Although I would much prefer that my children wear one piece bathing suits and keep their cover-ups on all day, that is really not realistic.
Someone once told me that when we begin serving in ministry, we open ourselves up for criticism. I didn’t quite understand the magnitude of that statement until I experienced it for myself. Sometimes we are criticized for misinterpreting God’s Word, or having a different opinion about a passage than someone else. And sometimes we are criticized for our parenting decisions.
Ironically, Lysa TerKeurst wrote a Proverbs 31 devotion on Tuesday about this same subject. I love how she worded this delicate balance when she said:
“No criticism is fun, but it can be helpful if it is from a wise person speaking words that are truly intended to help us. Proverbs 15:2a says, “The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge …” To me, a wise person is someone who:
• And wraps their criticism with grace and humility.”