The "fly" diversion
April 12, 2006
Oh, the sting of unfair criticism. When it's fair that hurts, but when undeserved?
Leadership and criticism go together. I admit, there are times I can be, oh so thin-skinned. I wake in the night, and replay tapes of defense, edited and refined through multiple playings.
When criticism is deserved, respond. Ask for forgiveness. Working with young people, I advise them, "When you blow it, just ask your parents or teachers to forgive you." What else can they do?" Correct it, whatever it is. Do something about it.
But when the criticism is unfair, undeserved or inaccurate, what then? Smith warns not to give it more credence than it deserves. His picture is compelling: a horse coming down the last quarter mile, fussing about a fly! How ridiculous.
Myra's book on Graham provides many good examples of his focus on the important. I saw the same. In 1995, I co-chaired his Toronto mission. It was the time he fell ill and could only speak at the last two meetings. An issue arose: one of real personal complexity for him. He refused to let it set aside the "race." The "fly," as important as it was, did not get in the way.
Lord Jesus, even though we know personal criticism is inevitable, this day/week, let grace arise in our hearts. May we be gracious to face our failings. May we also find discipline in our minds and plans, not to let fair and unfair criticisms detract us from the important roles we are called by you to fill. Amen.
Sometimes if a racehorse pays too much attention to a horsefly, it makes the fly too important. Some people's only taste of success is the bite they take out of someone whom they perceive is doing more than they are.