By Dudley C. Rutherford
(From our series “The Best or Worst Advice I’ve Ever Received.”)
My dad told me many years ago that whenever someone compliments or criticizes you, you should only believe about 10 percent of it.
For example, I’ve had people come up to me after a sermon and tell me it was the best message they’ve ever heard. That’s encouraging to hear, and there might be some truth in their words. But if I allow myself to steep too long in flattering remarks, I’ll eventually drown in my own pride.
On the other hand, I’ve had people in the church criticize me for a decision I’ve made. It’s great that they care about the well-being of our church, and it would bode well for me to pay attention to the criticism to some degree. But if I dwell on their comments too much, I could begin to second-guess every decision I make—and my leadership would suffer as a result.
This singular piece of advice has guaranteed for me a level head in ministry. If you measure yourself by another’s opinion, you’ll inevitably become manic—rising and falling to unreasonable extremes. It’s a dangerous roller coaster, and you’ll soon want to get off the ride. But if you listen to another’s words and weigh them with fairness and respect, you’ll not only ensure a healthy ministry, but you’ll also keep a healthy state of mind.
Dudley C. Rutherford serves as pastor of Shepherd of the Hills Church, Porter Ranch, California.