Monday, May 12, 2008

When Criticism Comes

We've received some "collateral heat" from Tim Steven's interview a few weeks back. The "Summer Nights" sketch that we were a part of has been getting a lot more hits (now over 20,000) since the interview. The comments are in line with what Tim has received. We, honestly Lisa, was feeling a little beaten up. A teammate and friend of mine Brian Warrell, encouraged us with this from Chuck Swindoll's book Hand Me Another Brick:

Every leader must develop the ability to measure the value or worth of criticism. He has to determine the source and the motive, and has to listen with discernment. Sometimes the best course of action is to graciously accept the criticism and learn form it. Other times, it must be strongly resisted.

Nehemiah's critics were constantly in agreement with one another, and their reaction was not a quiet, mildly disinterested one. No, they were angry! They became sarcastic. Look at the sarcasm in verse 3 "Now Tobiah the Ammonite was near him [Sanballat] and he said "Even what they are building-if a fox should jump on it, he would break their stone wall down!'"

Can you imagine a comment like that? But Tobiah made a crucial mistake. He claimed that a mere fox "would break their stone wall down." But what they built was not "their" stone wall. The Lord wanted the wall built. He happened to use Nehemiah as the construction superintendent, but God commissioned the work and owned the final product. Carping critics typically look at the situations from a human point of view-their walls, their plans, their comfort, their procedure, their arrangement-usually wrapping their derision in carefully crafted logic or, even worse, cleverly contorted Scripture. They don't stop to think that they may be criticizing God's project.

People who look at life from the human point of view have problems with projects that require steps of faith. We as leaders who are Christian need to ask ourselves, "Am I really looking to God for vision, for growth, and for direction, or am I taking the easy way out, allowing the status quo to earn approval from my peers and to keep my position secure?" If we earnestly and genuinely seek God's best for our lives, we must keep our eyes open and our attitudes positive-not lacking discernment, but remaining focused and positive. And we must never forget that those who are, by nature, negative and critical will always, always be around to create opposition. Nevertheless, the work , must go on. Progress should not stop because a loud minority to disparage us or hinder the plan.


Good stuff and a great reminder to keep focused on the work, not on the critics.

7 comments:

Sherry Ingle said...

Sometimes criticism is hard to take, especially from other Christians and even more so when it is directed towards our art. I love the sentence..."They don't stop to think that they may be criticizing God's project". I'm trying to learn to take apart criticism and find the bit of truth in it, learn from it, and throw the rest away!!

Dan Vukmirovich said...

It's funny that you mention that line. Brian highlighted that for us as well.

Steve Miller said...

Now go read the rest of the book. It is worth it! Right before the portion that Brian sent you, Swindoll makes this observation "Critics run with critics". Given the typical comments on some of those blogs, he makes a great point.

aaron dewinter said...

Amen Dan. Keep pushing onward. Lisa, you and all the artists at GCC are introducing, teaching and celebrating God's love and words for us in many fashions. If everyone did church the exact same way (same songs, same scripture quote, same stories) would new people be introduced to Jesus? Maybe some, but not as many as if there are different efforts, talents and angles being worked for Kingdom advancement. Push on bro and if there is nothing to really learn from the comment, put it in an imaginary box. Place the imaginary box in the imaginary closet, close the door and loose the key. HA, good seeing you guys Friday.

jeffandleslee said...

Dan you guys are amazing. I love the sincerity that i see you and Lisa serve with. What a gift you are to GCC! Several years ago Doug Fields told me that we have to "learn the art of seperating critical hearts from critical minds." Critical mind people are good for us - constructive feedback, interested in helping us maximize our ability and impact for the kingdom. Critical heart people are typically narrow minded and usually don't get it. Which camp do you think the critical comments have come from? :)

I'm thrilled to be part of a body of believers that champions you, your passions, your gifts, and your King!

Don said...

I stand with you both. It's true that in today's culture, people find it hard to separate "what we do" from "who we are". And remember what Paul says in 1 Cor 4.4-5:
"I'm not aware of anything that would disqualify me from being a good guide for you, but that doesn't mean much. The Master makes that judgment. So don't get ahead of the Master and jump to conclusions with your judgments before all the evidence is in. When he comes, he will bring out in the open and place in evidence all kinds of things we never even dreamed of - inner motives and purposes and prayers. Only then will any one of us get to hear the 'Well done!' of God."

JOHNNY CARR said...

Criticism has become a substance of junk inside my head that started in my childhood by many. When you are a child you receive what is giving to you. You accept it as the truth. You're told you're too slow. You're told you're worthless like your father. You're not taking seriously when you have a passion for somthing. You're made fun of and laughed at.

It has become a struggle for me becoming a Christ follower because of critism. I kept running into what I call critical christians. And if it wasn't for the way G.C.C. teaches I'd probably gave up. I have come to realise. I as well as everyone else and everything around us is a part of God's project. And I will only accept what God gives me to make me better. And ignore with power of Jesus Christ what the devil tries to put in me to destroy what God made me for.