Do you want to be a leader? I hope so. The world needs you to lead. It needs you to show them how to bring the principles of God into the practical world. One of the biggest shocks I got when I started to lead in my 20’s was realizing not everybody was happy with what I was doing. What a shock I received. Somewhere deep down inside of me I thought everybody would be cheering me on.
There is one universal constant of leadership – someone will criticize you. It might by your spouse, children, fellow employees, or those you are leading but you will be criticized. How you handle it will determine your success. Let’s look at Moses’ handling of his criticism from his sister and brother, Miriam and Aaron respectively:
While they were at Hazeroth, Miriam and Aaron criticized Moses because he had married a Cushite woman. Num 12:1 (NLT)
Criticism is often over things that don’t matter. Moses got criticized for not how he was leading but whom he married. A Cushite woman was not an Israelite – Cush was a country in the area of today’s Ethiopia. This type of criticism is usually just a diversion for what is really bothering them.
Criticism will often call you arrogant. Have you ever heard the phrase spoken with much sarcasm, “Why do you think your way is better?”
Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? they asked. Hasn’t he also spoken through us? Numbers 12:2 (NIV)
We now see what was really bothering Miriam and Aaron – they wanted to be in charge! When someone criticizes you of being arrogant or wanting to have your way realize the other’s person pride is showing through. Criticism is pride at its root. That is why the call of arrogance towards you comes out. Their own arrogance is coming on you.
How you handle criticism is key to your success as a leader. Being petty and fighting back lowers your status as a leader and reduces your effectiveness. Here is the best way to handle criticism:
(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.) At once the Lord said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, Come out to the Tent of Meeting, all three of you. So the three of them came out. Numbers 12:3-4 (NIV)
You handle criticism by being humble and letting God defend you. Humility is your response. Examine your heart for any truth to what they are saying. Don’t become defensive – this is also a sign of pride. Then trust in the Lord for your final outcome. If God put you in your position he is more than able to keep you in that position.
Do you want to be a leader which lasts? Handle Criticism with Meekness instead of Murmuring.