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Hearing God When a Critic Speaks

Turning negative comments into a constructive experience.

As a seminary student, I was asked to substitute in a Sunday school class for a teacher who was an uncommonly gifted communicator. I was nervous and not polished, but when I finished, I thought the class had gone well.

Afterward, however, I overheard one student say to another, "If he's coming back to teach again, I'm not."

Since that traumatic Sunday, I've had 27 years of teaching and preaching experience, and I've received a lot of feedback. Though it's never easy to receive criticism, you can turn negative comments into positive experiences.

I've learned that when I receive criticism, God is in it somewhere. That doesn't mean that criticism is always on target or that it must be taken at face value. But God can be doing a number of different things when I am being critiqued.

Course correction

God could be correcting me or trying to bring balance into my life. Two years ago at our annual staff retreat, our church's five pastors spent three days critiquing one another's lives and ministries. ...

From Issue:Fall 1998: Energy & Joy
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