Like most pastors, I have received praise that I never deserved and also been the subject of much criticism in my life – it comes with the territory. I’m sure much criticism has been deserved and been entirely justified. I’ve made plenty of mistakes and at times got priorities wrong and my communication skewed.
Leadership exposes all of that and highlights it all. So I’ve had to face many challenges in 26 years of ministry – on one occasion someone wrote me a letter with the word ‘Ichabod’ as part of the address (i.e.”The glory has departed”). I’ve been threatened, maligned and labelled “heretic”, received anonymous letters and been complained at, about and against. I’m sure that in every criticism there is probably some germ of truth that I have to learn and take away.
But I’m equally sure that some criticism is unfair, has not been deserved and has been the result of misunderstanding or personality clash or just plain mischief-making. Either way, deserved or not, it always hurts, stings and leaves a scar. You know that because you too, whoever you are, have also had to endure criticism along the way.
Even our Lord himself was called “Beelzebub” had his actions and motives questioned and in the end, his critics and enemies conspired to hang him on a cross.
When I need encouragement, I often listen to Robin Mark’s song with those haunting words
“When it’s all been said and done,
There is just one thing that matters
Did I do my best to live for truth?
Did I live my life for you?”
30 November 2012