How Disciples Respond to Criticism

This week has been interesting for me – made a comment on Facebook, got corrected by a good friend, wallowed in my own “rightness” for a while then realized I was wrong and changed the wording from being judgmental to being honest.

Rinse and repeat.

criticismI’ve been through the cycle of being criticized – justly and unjustly – so many times you would think I would have a three-step process down for how to move through it. You’d think I’d be better with my words in the first place.

It just isn’t that easy.

So how do people who claim to follow Jesus respond to criticism?

Well, the operational definition of discipleship we work with here at Parkview (stolen from Dallas Willard, which shouldn’t surprise you) is this:

A disciple is someone who is with Jesus, learning to be like Jesus in every area of their life. 

A disciple is therefore someone who is with Jesus, learning to be like Jesus in how they respond to criticism.

So how did He respond to it?

In love.

In peace.

With forgiveness.

With questions.

With stories.

With grace.

If you examine the life and teachings of Jesus, you’ll find something disarming about Jesus’ strategy towards criticism. He had the heart that trusted deeply in His Father and therefore He lived from that place. He addressed misconceptions, but He never did it in a way that showed His identity or the validity of His mission depended on having the facts right.

His value didn’t come from His ability to defend His position, it came from His identity as one in whom God dwells and delights.

We are called to be with Jesus, learning to be like Jesus in every area of our lives.

Including this one. Especially this one.

  • Jason Bentsen

    Good words. I hope I can respond as He did when I’m faced with the “opportunity”. Not that easy.

  • Donavan Vicha

    That last italicized statement really sums it up for all of us finding value as “one in whom God dwells and delights.” Facebook provides far too many opportunities to falter in that regard but I suppose that it could constitute practice or exercise opportunities as well.