July 3, 2023

“By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown.”
– Proverbs 11:11 (ESV)

If you have been coaching very long, you have probably developed a thick skin. It’s not easy being in the line of fire for criticism that can come from any direction and at any time. Administrators, parents, fans, fellow coaches and players all have their personal expectations of the job we are doing. It’s easy for us to question ourselves and doubt our abilities under the attack. Worst of all, the constant criticism can suck the joy out the very thing we most enjoy doing. David Roper in his book A Burden Shared, says “there are four truths about criticism: (1) it always comes when we need it the least; (2) it often comes when we least deserve it; (3) it usually comes from people who are the least qualified to give it; and (4) it frequently comes in a form that is least helpful to us.”

I don’t know what criticisms you face today, but I would like to offer the following suggestions for dealing with them. First, stay calm and take your case to the Lord in prayer. Don’t quit and don’t stop. Count on the Lord to give you the strength and courage to face the storm. Find a brother or sister in Christ who can provide consistent encouragement—someone you trust to be honest and shoot straight. Seek relief and peace in God’s Word. The Bible is not outdated and it’s truth is always relevant to our lives. Know that you are never alone. The worst thing you can do is isolate yourself from the very people who can and want to support you. Finally, don’t forget to check your own heart and motives. Realize that every person you talk to today is either a demolition site or a construction zone. Your words make a difference too. Will the words you speak be weapons for destruction or tools for construction?

Heavenly Father, help me to overthrow the flames of criticism that come my way today. Teach me to check the words that come out of my own mouth. May my words build others up rather than tear them down. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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