Coping With Criticism by Jamie Buckingham
Excerpt from Coping with Criticism —
It took a long time before I recognized there is a difference between coping with criticism and being immune to it. A couple of years ago, after having gone through several moderate encounters with angry people—and not going into depression or getting angry in return—I began to feel I had at last conquered my old problem.
One Friday, speaking at a ladies’ luncheon, I began my remarks by announcing that they were looking at a man who had finally become immune to criticism.
It was an audacious thing to say!
It was also an extremely foolish thing to say.
Mortals have a difficult time understanding what is going on in the spiritual world (what the Bible calls “the heavenlies”). If we did understand, we’d be mighty careful about playing the braggadocio. The purpose of God’s visitation on earth, the purpose of the Bible being written, the purpose of the Holy Spirit in the world today is that we might be conformed to the image of God’s Son. At least, if I understand Romans 8:29 correctly, God’s design for us from the beginning of creation is for each of us to become like Jesus. Yet to arrive at that place of perfection, or as Paul states earlier in that great eighth chapter of Romans, to become “the manifested sons of God” entails a great deal of finish work. Finishing is a tedious and painful process, brought about by the One who is the “author and finisher” of our faith. In carpentry, the finish work is accomplished by a man with sandpaper, steel wool, and a sharp chisel. Since most of us simply don’t want to submit to that kind of irritation—the kind that shapes us into the image of Jesus—we do everything we can to escape it.
Criticism is one of God’s finest shaping tools. In the hands of an expert it can rapidly transform us from self-centered individuals into people who live and act like Jesus. But since most of us have failed to realize that all criticism, like all authority, is valid only because God allows it, then we run from the man (or woman) coming down the sidewalk with sandpaper, steel wool, and a sharp chisel. It’s difficult to understand, but God just may have sent that Philistine to polish you until you reflect Jesus.
When I stood up before that women’s group and made that stupid announcement—that I had become immune to criticism—it was the same as saying I no longer had a need to be shaped by God. As a result, I laid myself wide open to a full-fledged midterm exam by God to see if I really was who I said I was….
Jamie Buckingham’s classic book, Coping with Criticism, is again available in paperback or e-book format for your Kindle, at: www.JamieBuckinghamMinistries.
Jamie was founder and pastor of the Tabernacle Church in Melbourne for over 25 years.