What I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me (Part Four)
I am continuing this series, which has been fun so far…this next lesson I want to share has been a painful one and so this entire post will be dedicated to it…
#5 - You Will Be Criticized When God Begins To Move—Expect It And Get Over It.
I’ve never met a devil worshiper—to my knowledge that is. When I first became a Christian I was convinced that I needed to do all that I could to be ready to combat the evil forces of darkness that were and are associated with the occult, so I read and studied and prepared and…and…and…nothing.
Now, looking back over the past 18 years of ministry I have realized something - although I’ve never met a devil worshiper…I have seen hundreds and thousands who serve him faithfully under the disguise of religion.
The first mistake I made was not understanding where criticism comes from. Paul plainly says in Ephesians 6:12 that our struggle is not against flesh and blood (or bloggers) but against the evil one.
I really hate to make it this simple…but if God IS moving in your church or ministry, if people ARE meeting Christ, if people are taking next steps by being baptized and then those same people are joining together to reach other people for Christ then let me ask a simple question - WHO WOULD WANT TO TEAR SOMETHING LIKE THAT APART? (Hmmmm….)
If it’s a move of God then why would God move someone to attack it? (Jesus was actually accused of being demon possessed and the work He was doing was attacked by…uh…yep, the religious. See Matthew 12:22-30)
I’ve heard other well meaning pastors say that they try to learn from their critics. If that is their approach then I say “go for it;” however, I ignore them. I have no desire to try and learn ANYTHING from them. Some call that arrogant—I call it focus! Several reasons why…
#1 - Who Is Saying It - The overwhelming majority of criticism I have faced has came from people who send anonymous e-mails OR ones from fake accounts. (The internet truly is a place for cowards!) SO…they aren’t even willing to own up to what they are trying to say!
#2 - Critics Are Not Normal People - Seriously, if you have someone who checks out your website daily just to see what “you got wrong” (which is pride I think) AND they go to your churches website, listen to your sermons and then critiques them on-line…uh…seriously, who in the heck has time for that? Is that normal? Isn’t that a little on the unhealthy side of obsessive compulsive? I don’t know about you—but I just don’t have time for that!
I would say to a man who is doing that to repent of your heterosexual man crush and get obsessed with Jesus and your wife…OR to a woman I would say show Jesus and your husband the attention that you show me…I think everyone would be much happier!!!
#3 - The Way They Say Things - You can tell by the way they word their attacks if it was motivated out of a love for God and others…or if insecurity and a “desire to be right” (pride) has caused the words to fly.
#4 - Their Blind Spots - A critic doesn’t know you, they don’t see you on a daily basis, therefore there is zero accountability in regards to what they say about you. They don’t know your heart, your passion, what keeps you up at night. They don’t know your battles and personal struggles. They don’t see you as a person but rather a personality. I heard TD Jakes say recently that when people see you as a personality and not a person then they have no problem saying horrible things about you.
I wasted time with critics—seriously. I let them take me from my family and my ministry many times, and I lost sleep over some of the things they’ve said. BUT…I’ve not looked at a “critical website” in nearly a year and I just don’t respond to negative press—I am passionately obsessed with people who need Jesus and not the “expert” in the stands who refuses to put down his soda and peanuts and get in the game!
Some may ask, “But Pastor P…do you just fly by the seat of your pants and not listen to anyone?” I will address that in my next post on “What I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me.” (The short answer is HECK NO!!! If it were not for the people around me I would have made some really bad decisions!!!)