Many of you are leaders in some capacity: YoungLife, K-Life, Student Ministries, Granny’s House, etc. As a leader, the question is not Will I face criticism, but When? When it comes, the next question is, ‘How will I respond?’ Unwise leaders respond reactively, with frustration, anger, and gossip. Wise leaders see that criticism is often God’s way of sanctifying us, and respond accordingly.
This quote by the Puritan pastor Richard Baxter was incredibly helpful to me:
Because there are many eyes upon you, therefore there will be many observers of your falls. If other men may sin without observation, so cannot you. And you should thankfully consider how great a mercy this is, that you have so many eyes to watch over you, and so many ready to tell you of your faults, and so have greater helps than others, at least for the restraining of your sin. Though they may do it with a malicious mind, yet
you have the advantage by it.
God can use even the most unwarranted, unkind, and thoughtless criticism to sanctify us. Wise leaders don’t roll over and take criticism, they respond gently, thoughtfully, and in love, but while doing this they allow the truth in criticism to sanctify their souls.