Dealing with Criticism
by Molly Shorter
Being in the music ministry is such a blessing, isn't it? I absolutely love it! As with any ministry, it has its ups and downs. But, what a joy to sing for the Lord! I want to talk to you about a subject that is very personal and can be so hurtful, The subject is criticism and how to deal with it.
As a leader in your church, you have to learn how to deal with criticism because it will come. I've been in the music ministry for quite a while. Over the years, I have seen feelings hurt, testimonies destroyed, and ministries divided due to criticism. Criticism is a tool of the enemy to cause hurt and division. This division gives him a foothold to do his destructive work by causing those involved to get distracted, to be ineffective, and to be unproductive. The effects of criticism can cause someone to walk away from a ministry that God has placed them in to effectively minister in His Name.
So, how do you deal with criticism when you meet it face to face? You have to recognize it for what it is. Remember this - Jesus was criticized privately and publicly. This criticism led to persecution and, ultimately, His death. Yet, He never lost control. He kept His focus on His purpose in being here. Ephesians 4 says, "to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (ESV) Chapter 4 ends with this instruction, "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." (ESV)
If you're on the receiving end of criticism, you have a responsibility to be obedient to God's Word. We're called to bear with one another, to be patient with one another, and to respond with love and forgiveness even though everything inside you wants to lash out. Remember, one of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control. In the face of criticism, self-control needs to be exercised. The cross of Christ provides us built-in restraint. The power of the Holy Spirit in our lives gives us the strength to resist retaliation. Remember, Jesus was power under control. He didn't lash out but remained silent under intense persecution. He is our example.
So, my dear fellow musicians, if criticism has been directed at you, don't lose heart. Ask the Lord to show you where you may need to make changes and follow His instruction. Continue faithfully to serve in the ministry where you've been placed. Make the most of each opportunity with humility and gentleness. Don't let criticism cause distraction or division. Deal with criticism with Jesus as your example â€“ power under control.
Molly Shorter is full-time musician and worship leader in the service of her Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. She works with church musicians, giving them opportunities to develop and use their God-given musical gifts for His honor and glory.
Along with leading a large worship team, she is also a teacher to budding musicians, a playwright and theater director, a composer, and the writer of your enouragement here at Christwill Music.