How should a pastor process criticism?

A helpful way to understand some of the pressures of pastoral ministry is the term “mudslinging.”  This is referring to what can be a consistent flow of harsh words, corrections, and criticisms towards the pastor and his decisions.  When there is mud slung, there is the one that slings the mud and there is the one who now has mud on his face as a result.  How does a pastor deal with not just the mud that is now on his face, but the one who threw the mud?  This could be the topic of many posts in the future.

For now, I would like to leave you with a simple word from the Valley of Vision.  It did not have pastors in view, but all Christians and how God would seem to want each of us to respond when corrected.  No doubt, it hits the mark in how we as pastors should begin to humbly process what can be an avalanche of criticism.  Pastors, read and consider its application in the criticisms of your life and ministry you face and be helped:

Teach me how to take reproofs from friends,
even though I think I do not deserve them;
Use them to make me tenderly afraid of sin,
more jealous over myself,
more concerned to keep heart and life unblameable;
Cause them to help me reflect on my want of spirituality,
to abhor myself,
to look upon myself as unworthy,
and make them beneficial to my soul.
May all thy people know how little, mean, and vile I am,
that they may see I am nothing,
less than nothing,
to be accounted nothing,
that so they may pray for me aright,
and have not the least dependence upon me…
My God use whatever harsh, painful words might be spoken to you this week to make you tenderly afraid of sin and more concerned to live a blameless life, all the while looking to the cross where Jesus Christ declares us perfect and completely accepted in Him.
Posted in The Pastor's Soul
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