Shepherds’ Conference 2019 Session 8 Notes

Session 8

Joel Beeke

Read 1 Peter 2:19-25

Faithful in Criticism

81% of American ministers say their greatest problem in ministry is dealing with criticism.

You will be known more by your reactions than by your actions.

It is easy for ministers to become pessimistic when we have large doses of criticism.

But this may have pride at the core.

Do we think we deserve better than we receive?

Paul said he learned to be content in all circumstances.


Seminary does not train you to cope with criticism.

You have to deal with it every time you are criticized.

It is possible that I can learn to deal with criticism externally, so people think I look good, but not internally.

We are to cope with criticism faithfully internally too.

Ten ways to handle criticism.

  1. Consider criticism to be inevitable.

You may get a honeymoon period as a minister.

Matthew 10:16, 22

Old Dutch saying, “He who stands up in front will be kicked in the rear.”

  1. Consider the motive and the source.

Be sure to first listen well.

Get the facts straight.

But also ask yourself, “Have I heard the real problem>”

Is there something deeper behind the statement?

Give your critic the benefit of the doubt.

Assume his motive to be pure unless you have solid reasons to think otherwise.

Flatterers who fawn over you will be the first to turn against you if you do not give them the attention they want.

Beware of power players.

Beware of gossipers.

Beware of those with a critical spirit.

You have to ask, “Who is criticizing me?”

But if a critic is a mature believer who is usually supportive, take that seriously.

There is usually some truth in what they say.

Do not overreact to complaints only raised by a few.

Give due weight to the character of the one complaining.

  1. Consider the content.

You can learn from criticism.

God uses critics for our humbling.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, Proverbs 27:6.

Critics can show us our blind spots.

What are they saying that might help me improve myself and my ministry?

Confess, repent, and ask for forgiveness.

If the critic offers nothing helpful, thank them for caring and then move on.

Sometimes you need to throw yourself into work for a few hours and return to thinking about what was said after thinking about something else for a while.

Do not try to explain or justify yourself at length.

Your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you.

You are not to avenge yourself.

Do not try to track down every whisper.

You are a shepherd, not a policeman.

You may have to give up trying to appease some critics.

In heaven, your believing critics and you will get along.

You will not see your unbelieving critics there.

If you are 10% wrong, just go and ask for forgiveness.

Usually that will help the brother who caused the other portion.

  1. Consider the context, the timing, and prayer.

IF at all possible, ask for 24 hours to think and pray about the issue.

In 24 hours, people tend to be a lot more reasonable and more mellow.

Prayer helps.

  1. Consider yourself.

Critics can guard you from selfishness.

You would not be the man of God you are without going through the criticisms you have.

Criticism makes you more tender as a shepherd to the sheep.

If you habitually feel slighted and neglected, look into what might be happening there.

Take to your side some accountability partners.

Get a trustworthy friend, perhaps an elder or deacon in your church.

Try to have an elder or minister in another congregation who can help you.

  1. Consider Scripture.

Trials sometimes make you cling to particularly helpful texts of Scripture.

  1. Consider Christ.

Jesus suffered and did not react in anger.

IF Jesus was attacked though he is perfect, what should we pastors expect?

The truth is, our critics do not know how bad we really are.

God does.

Christ is so perfect and endured so much for me, how could I not endure much for him?

  1. Consider the patience of the saints.

Nehemiah showed great patience.

His critics deployed the weapon of ridicule.

We all have insecurities hidden inside of us.

Nehemiah reminded himself that the source of his vision is god.

He adjusted his plan without abandoning his vision.

A failed plan does not indicate a failed vision.

Do not grow weary in doing good.

  1. Consider your duty to love, even to love the one who criticizes you.

Become better acquainted with those who criticize you.

You cannot love the unknown.

Be willing to forgive any injury done to you.

Pray with your critic.

But be careful in your prayer not to come against him.

Pray for your critic in private.

IT is hard to stay bitter against a critic for whom you genuinely prayer.

Feel compassion for your negative critic.

Put away anything that inhibits love.

Keep loving your critic.

  1. Consider eternity.

The Savior awaits us.

He will never let us down.

WE want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

We want him to wipe away every tear.

Jesus knows us completely.

He is the friend who sticks closer than a brother.

He will make all wrongs right.

He will deal with every injustice.

In heaven, there will be perfect unity.

We will understand that all the criticism used here on earth was used in the hands of God as the Potter to shape us.

We will see fully that all the criticisms we endure on earth were a light affliction compared to the eternal glory.

In heaven, we will be more than repaid for every affliction we endured for the sake of Jesus.

Keep your positive view of ministry.

You are on your way to heaven.

Jesus will carry you all the way.

Ministers do the most important job on earth.

WE need not be disillusioned.

We are ambassadors for Christ.

God will not allow criticism that he does not also provide grace for you to bear.

Your Savior is greater than any critic.

HE will not desert you.

We are nothing.

Jesus is everything.