Receiving negative mail was a shock to my system. The letters signed “Anonymous” were treacherous for an insecure, living-in-a-glass-house, feeble little man. I’m such a cry baby anyway and these things did me in. A small percentage of members feel quite free to let us have it. They seem to believe it their duty.
I found myself fighting for air. Harsh criticism was probably embellished by my own lack of confidence. However, unsigned letters are signal enough the writer intended damage. Here’s what I’ve learned over the years:
- Practice Philippians 4:4-9. Think about all of the good letters, the great phone calls, the majority who support you. Replay those; not the negative ones.
- Relax. The writer might be right. He might be wrong. Learn from the things you need to adjust and put the rest out of your mind. Focus on Philippians 4:4-9.
- Don’t do what the writer is doing….rehashing the negatives. Here’s an exercise I would do: I would take positive inventory. Am I tumor free? Did I get a pay check last week? Do I have close friends who love me? Did I sleep on the street any time within the last year? Is my car running well? Do we have indoor plumbing? Did my kids each come with arms? I would make up a list of gratitudes and think on them.
- What’s the worst thing they can do? Fire you? I had to consider this many times as such threats were verbally expressed to me on occasion. I had to conclude that if such were to happen I would survive…somehow.
- Read Matthew 5:10-12 and ask yourself why you think you should be the exception to Jesus’ rule. Why is it you think persecution ended when the Bible was completed (uh-oh…I just threw in a wrench).
Dear young leader, the kingdom of God’s icon is the cross; the blood-splattered kind. If people are mean to you, wake up! You are being verified by the Spirit of God that you are in the real deal. What we don’t want is the very thing we must have to effectively grow…..struggle. Don’t try to get over it. Learn to walk through it.