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Coping with Criticism: Turning pain into blessing

September 2021 | by Gareth Williams

Have you ever faced criticism and found it painful and difficult to cope with? In this short title, Mostyn Roberts addresses this common problem.

The book began as a paper written for a ministers’ fraternal, and was later expanded into its present form. It can be read comfortably in one or two sittings, and is well worth the read. It serves as a useful resource that can be returned to again and again, or passed on (with love!) to others.

Although the book is aimed particularly at helping those in ministry, it has value for a broader range of church personnel than simply the eldership. It is written with clarity, sanity, and modesty.

In its advice it is not exhaustive, and it doesn’t claim to be. It doesn’t deal, for example, with the intensity of distress sometimes caused by serious accusation, or with the harrowing nature of suffering on false charges. But I was glad to see the constructive advice given concerning how one might respond to email criticism (thinking of the damage often done here).

The reader is led to consider the experiences of Christ and Paul and their responses to criticism. Believers are encouraged to remember God’s sovereignty, and are pointed to Christ’s cross as the archetypical centre from which the principles are ultimately derived, before having those principles applied to one’s own life.

The book has the desired effect of prompting personal reflection. Trusting God and praying to him, showing patience, confession, and forgiveness, and teaching biblical truth with love and care are all taken as means of ‘turning pain into blessing’ (the book’s subtitle).

For the wounds it could heal, and the blessing that could result from it, this book is well worth the small price tag.

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