Friday, August 07, 2009

Handling Criticism 2

Yesterday I gave some tips on how to handle personal criticism. Today, I want to look at the equally complicated issue of how to process criticism directed at someone else. Let's say, as an example, that someone approaches you to tell about what bothers them about another person in the church, your small-group, your neighborhood, your family, etc. What steps do you take to know that you are processing that situation biblically? Here are a few suggestions that can really help:
  1. Attempt to shut people down from just gossiping to you about someone else by asking them two fundamental questions: “Do you want something to change in this situation?” – check intent - “Would you say that in front of them face-to-face?” – check importance
  2. If their answer is no to either of those questions, then politely tell them that you are not going to listen to them talk about someone when they don’t intend to handle the situation biblically, which is…
  3. They need to go directly to the person they have an issue with (Matthew 18) rather than talking to others about that person
  4. This is important because we are all part of one unified body in Christ (Ephesians 4) and Jesus prayed that we would have unity as His followers (John 17)
  5. If they are willing to talk to the person they have an issue with directly, then we can provide coaching on how to talk with that person directly
  6. This will primarily involve helping them process their fears about confronting someone directly (and helping them understand why they are afraid)
  7. The final step is accountability – making sure that the person who has talked with you then follows through in meeting face-to-face with the other person.

This can be one of the most difficult because we want to sound empathetic to those who come us. At the same time, we don't want to triangulate and create circles of gossip. We need to encourage and equip people to deal with their issues directly rather than indirectly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If only we the church, really got a hold of this. Easy to say much harder to put into practice. Big temptation.