I was in my groove last Sunday. I don’t want to brag. I’m just saying.
You know when you puncture an underground revelatory oil pocket?
I hit one.
Here’s how it works for me. I find myself saying stuff while my brain is saying, “Wait, whoa, where is this coming from and is it legit?”
What I was saying was actually flying smack dab in the face of what I have previously taught and been taught regarding criticism.
The question I asked was, “What if Peter had not responded to his critics in Acts 2?”
My answer was, “We may not have had a book of Acts.”
Every good Bible School student has been taught not to respond to their critics, but I would wager that over half of the book of Acts are sermons from the apostles in response to criticism.
Back to last Sunday.
I found myself on a soapbox somewhere in the woods on a random rabbit trail stating, “Maybe the Church is at where it’s at because we have avoided responding to our critics for the past sixty years.”
There are three ways that most people react to criticism.
1.) The Worldly Reaction
The world says, when you get critiqued, defend yourself. Do whatever you can to save face. Your identity, brand, and reputation are all you have. If someone is going to tarnish that, take them down!
2.) The Religious Reaction to Criticism
The religious reaction to criticism is usually radically passive-aggressive. The one being criticized would ignore the criticism, privately stew in their anger, and then release a venomous response in their following Sunday morning message to their congregation (not to their critic).
3.) The Gospel Reaction to Criticism
In the book of Acts, the Apostles defend themselves real-time. Peter’s response to the mockers is followed by an alter call whereby they actually convert and become believers. This is how the New Testament was birthed, by Peter correcting the critics (as they had believed a lie and they weren’t going to get away with it).
Why is it that most Christians avoid responding to their critics?
Because it’s personal.
When we get critiqued, it actually tests the foundation of our very identity. For many Christians, when they get verbally socked below the belt, the last thing they want to do is respond, unless by nature they have an aggressive personality (which in many cases, aggressive people actually deserve the criticism).
If you have been through seasons of attack, then you know just how personal and hurtful it feels.
And yet, as personal as it feels, it’s not.
Remember, “We don’t wrestle against peeps, but against creepy cosmic demonic principalities hovering in realms of compromised dark shiz.” – Ephesians 6:12 (The Darren Translation)
These attacks aren’t personal. Your yelper is just a puppet being used by The Fly Lord to shut you up and down.
So, what should you do?
1.) Respond directly to your critic (and do it quickly).
2.) Get in touch with your critic directly (i.e., call, text, email, drive to their house and pound on their door at 3 AM.)
3.) Remind them of what they said and inform them of where you “felt” they were wrong.
4.) Go ahead and let them know how it made you feel, “That really hurt me, bro!”
5.) Communicate to them the consequences of their attack against you.
6.) Share your desire for absolute truth and mutual understanding.
7.) Ask them to remove their criticism from public forums such as social media and give an update in light of the conversation and mutual understanding.
What if that goes bad?
Go ahead and call your apostle, pastor, or mommy. Lol.
Don’t have any of the above?! Email me at Darren@seattlerevivalcenter.com. I’d love to help you process.
Lastly, it is very possible that your own unwise choice provoked the attack.
Humble yourself and engage with the above steps.
Lastly, confront your critic for any inappropriate ways that they attacked you.
Reference the three million scripture verses in the Bible that communicate the importance of love and relationship, and ask them why they chose to be a bully instead of a brother.
Make sure that you get an answer.
Regardless of the outcome, forgive.
Forgive, forgive, and forgive.
Then give the whole thing to the Lord.
The only way to make sure that you never get attacked is to hide in your closet for the rest of your life, play it safe, and read every article and book you can by Fred Rogers or Barney (yes, the purple dinosaur is an author).
Remember, that the more like Jesus you become, the more people may want to crucify you, so surround yourself with lots of crazy wise people who will tell you the truth (especially the truth that you don’t want to hear) and when the haters come, convert them.
Hope this helps.
Love you guys!