I was smarting from some criticism recently when I reread this line by Spurgeon:
Get a friend to tell you your faults, or better still, welcome an enemy who will watch you keenly and sting you savagely. What a blessing such an irritating critic will be to a wise man, what an intolerable nuisance to a fool!
Spurgeon had a gift for saying what needs to be said. I needed to read this.
One of the toughest parts of pastoring is the criticism. Some of it is fair; a lot of it isn’t. As our culture becomes increasingly cynical of those in positions of authority, a critical spirit can pervade the church. If you pastor, you’re going to be criticized.
Spurgeon reminded me that criticism isn’t just something to be tolerated. It’s something to be welcomed. So, pray for critics. I mean this in two ways:
- Pray on behalf of your critics.
- Pray that God will bless you with critics if you don’t already have some.
Of course, you may want to pray that God will send some encouragers too.
For more on criticism, read The Pastor and Personal Criticism (PDF) by C.J. Mahaney.