The Criticism Question

So, The second most asked question at the Pastor's wife Q&A was the question of criticism.

  • What do I do when people criticize my husband?
  • Am I allowed to fight back when people criticize my children?
  • What do I do when people criticize me?

Sheila had very mature, wise, well thought out answers.  My answer…"I get a little feisty when it comes to this issue."

I really do.  Why is it ok for people to talk about their pastors and various things they feel he has done wrong on blogs, at dinner, in board meetings, in front of the Pastor's wife and children?  I am so thankful that this has rarely happened to us as a family.  But when it has happened, it has hurt deeply.  Mostly the arrows have been shot from afar.  Meany blogger's have taken pot-shots at Rob calling him all kinds of terrible things.  I almost just linked to one meany in particular so you could check it out for yourself, but I slapped my own hand.  It's pointless.  He's just a meany trying to get attention like any middle school bully would. 

You wouldn't believe the letters Rob gets from time to time.  Amazing. Incredulous.  Not worth repeating. 

When it comes to defending Rob from criticism, I rarely fight back.  The truth is, he really doesn't care that much about it.  He reads it and is able to go on.  I applaud that on his part.  I am trying to be a grown up like him. 

When it comes to my children, my answer is…"Wage an all out war against those who criticize your children."  I don't think that's in the Bible, but it's how I feel about the subject.  Kids don't know why an adult would be picking on them.  They don't have the skills to defend themselves against an adult.  You are likely their only advocate.  Speak up for them loud and clear and don't turn back. Jesus would speak up for you if you were with him and someone was picking on you unfairly.  I imagine he would use humor, love, and compassion, not a shaking fist or an angry word back.  Defend your children creatively.  Ask God to guide you in His ways.

And when it comes to people criticizing me, hmm…I have to say it hurts.  I writhe in pain a while, especially when it is from a close friend.  Actually, a long while.  I bring it to Jesus, then I hurt some more, then I bring it to Jesus again.  Then I want to write that person a mean email or include their name in a nasty blog post, then I slap my hand again and bow my head to pray and bring it to Jesus again.

4 thoughts on “The Criticism Question

  • September 25, 2008 at 10:17 am
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    Michelle,
    THANK YOU soooo very much for sharing! I am sooo glad to know that I am not the only who hurts when someone says or does mean things to us or about us. They think we are supposed to just take it with a great stride and not get hurt or upset. I struggle the most with the last one when they hurt me. I am sure as my kids get older I will get fistery about them too but they are little right now so they have not caused trouble for anyone to say something to them. Thanks again!!!! Jenny

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  • September 25, 2008 at 4:49 pm
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    You are so right about the criticizing the kids. I’m not a pastor’s wife (really admire all pastors including their families…you really give to the people!)..but as a mother I feel “you can mess w/ me, but don’t mess with my kids!.” Thanks again for sharing your answers to the most asked questions!

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  • September 25, 2008 at 8:21 pm
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    The kid thing is big for me, too. Struggled with our first “leaving the church because we don’t like the way your child behaved during service” (he colored…gasp!) experience this summer. Hard not to go open the door for them and wave “Buh-bye.” The criticism born out of love is such a great thing and can be so helpful. When it is hateful, I just try and remember that there is usually bigger issues involved that have nothing to do with me and, like you said, keep lifting them up in prayer. Keep posting the answers! Great stuff!

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  • September 27, 2008 at 12:21 am
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    I laughed because this last year has been very difficult for us for a lot of reasons but there’s been a lot of times when I’ve wanted Stephen to defend himself, or I’ve wanted to defend him, or much worse… and he has not once bit back… I’m trying to learn from him… even if I can ‘take’ it and not react to the person I tend to react to a friend instead of putting my head to the carpet and talking to my Father… unfortunately. I’m trying…

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