No one likes to be told that they are wrong. Being criticized at feels like an attack against your intelligence and at times even an attack against your character. It is the rare person who is able to handle criticism well. Most people want to defend themselves against a perceived attack criticism offers. I know that is true for me. I don’t handle criticism very well.
Christians are promised times of criticism as well as persecution as they follow Jesus. Peter wrote; “Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world” (1 Peter 2:12; NLT).
Christians should expect times of criticism. Some of the time the criticism will be justified, other times the criticism will not be. Regardless of whether or not we deserve the criticism or not, Peter tells us the best way to handle it is not to offer up defenses, but live in such a way to make the criticism appear ridiculous. The way we live is the best defense against criticism.
In a recent blog post Zach Hunt at The American Jesus asks the questions, “Why are Christians so bad at handling criticism?” This is a good question, because the way we handle criticism is an indication of what we truly believe. When we don’t handle criticism well we turn people off, not only to the Church, but also to Jesus.
I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of different types of people in my life from all sorts of backgrounds and with all kinds of outlooks on life.
And I’ve had the chance to get into disagreements with lots of different types of people from all sorts of backgrounds with all kinds of outlooks on life.
But I’m not sure anyone I’ve encountered anyone who is quite so bad at handling criticism as Christians are.
Particularly my teenage self. Ugh, he was the worst.
Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, the comment section of a blog, a conversation in real life, or simply those moments when we’re sitting at home alone yelling at the TV we seem to explode in defensiveness at the drop of a hat whenever anyone says anything remotely critical about anything we believe and no matter how small that criticism is or even what the specific criticism may be we treat it not simply as a personal attack against us, but as a direct assault on God.
Continue reading Why are Christians so Bad at Handling Criticism?
My answer to the question is because Christians are saved by faith. The issue is not that this isn’t true, but the fact that we have equated faith with belief. This means to be saved by faith requires having the right belief. Things like the age of the earth, the nature of hell, freewill and predestination no longer become matters of opinion, but are tied to our salvation. We have to get these things right if we hoped to be saved.
Thank God that is not the case! Faith may start with belief, but it doesn’t end there. Faith grows into trust, commitment, and obedience. What this means is that criticism is not the same as questioning our salvation, and so we should be able to handle it with more tact, love, and humility.