Monday, December 7, 2009

Responding To Criticism

Another excellent article from the blog of Tullian Tchividjian.

As many of you know, my family and I were recently faced with the painful challenge of how to handle public criticism. It forced me to carefully think through how the gospel should inform and shape our response to public, personal attack.

Well, the other day I found great help (and healing) from Carl Trueman’s thoughts on how Christian’s should respond if they are criticized or defamed (specifically on the web). His gospel-drenched insights are right on the money:

"The answer is simple: for myself, I do not believe that it is appropriate that I spend my time defending my name. My name is nothing—who really cares about it? And I am not called to waste precious hours and energy in fighting off every person with a laptop who wants to have a pop at me. As a Christian, I am not meant to engage in self-justification any more than self-promotion; I am called rather to defend the name of Christ; and, to be honest, I have yet to see a criticism of me, true or untrue, to which I could justifiably respond on the grounds that it was Christ’s honour, and not simply my ego, which was being damaged. I am called to spend my time in being a husband, a father, a minister in my denomination, a member of my church, a good friend to those around me, and a conscientious employee. These things, these people, these locations and contexts, are to shape my priorities and my allocation of time. Hitting back in anger at those who, justly or unjustly, do not like me and for some reason think the world needs to know what they think of me is no part of my God-given vocation. God will look after my reputation if needs be; He has given me other work to do."


Whateverman said...

Does this post imply that you're unwilling to consider whether your critics have a valid point?

Not responding to criticism is a valid strategy when debating, discussing or teaching. However, to ignore it completely means you place absolute trust in your ability to correctly understand the thing you're teaching.

This has nothing to do with the subject being debated, discussed or taught. It's about your understanding of it. Ignoring criticism implies you've got unshakable faith in your own understanding - and if that's not hubris, nothing is.

Paul Latour said...

This is really well stated. So true! Thanks for this, Rob.

The Molters said...

Keep it up! Those who use Matthew 7:1-5 to attack you will be given back to them what they earn.

rrn said...

Not responding to criticism is not the same as ignoring it. Ironically additional criticism and false conclusions can come from not responding. Depending on the subject matter it is possible to place absolute trust to correctly understand the subject being taught? 1+1=2. If a critic says the answer is 3 I will not ignore the answer but I that does not mean I will respond to it all the while being unshaken in my understanding of that very truth.