In-Sight: The Gift of Critique

I know that many of you who follow Oboedire are professional leaders in the church, and the rest of you are ministers in some other form in the world.  Father Richard Rohr has written this morning about one of the essential things which all of us must understand, if we are to be authentic, healthy, and effective….

In faith, there is no possibility of an uninterrupted success story. The only way you’re going to face your wild beasts and your shadows is by failure and rejection.   (Daily Meditation, April 26, 2012)

Sometimes the rejection comes from friends, not enemies—that is, from people who are trying to “get through” our egotistical barriers that prevent us from seeing and admitting what is really going on.

One of the great mistakes is to assume that rejection is negative, destructive, or only comes from people who are out to do us harm.  In fact, rejection is one of the ways God establishes “kairos moments” in our lives—grace-filled opportunities to repent (change our minds, turn around, head in a new direction).

The Bible is filled with stories of friends who said to friends, “What you are doing is not right.”  In that moment, we see whether or not we are living in reality or only propped up by our illusions. Nathan’s words to David come immediately to mind (2 Samuel 12:1-15).  If we push back the message of friends, we will continue to live with the fantasy that we can have an “uninterrupted success story.”

Hard as it is to see it, when rejection comes from a friend, it is a gift.  If we will open the gift, we will find a treasure inside—the “treasure” of an invitation from God to make a fresh start and find a depth of reality we may never have known before.

We will never be finer than when we redefine “rejection” and understand that it is often “critique”—a gift that comes saturated with healing grace.


About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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