Tuesday, August 9, 2022
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Externalizing Blame

You might recognize the situation: you’re giving some input in a training or a meeting. You can see a mixed response. Some heads nodding, but others frowning, looking as if they want to burn down your ideas. I know I’m sensitive to negative feedback. To avoid the pain I tend to externalize blame. It must be someone else’s fault. This natural reaction is usually not the best ground for learning and development.

So whenever I get negative feedback I’ve started to ask myself three questions:

  1. Where is the source of my identity?

If my identity comes from what I do or say, I’m in trouble. I remind myself that first and foremost I’m a child of God. Because of His amazing and borderless grace, I’m loved unconditionally. God is the source of life and wants the best for me.

  1. What is God saying to me in this situation?

I take captive my own thoughts and re-align myself with my sense of calling. I seek to hear God’s perspective on the situation and then seek to respond. I do this whenever I’m preparing inputs for a training or a meeting. I remind myself: For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

  1. Am I willing to see those who criticize me as my coach?

God works through community. We are not meant to be lone or lonely rangers. A trusting team provides a solid base, helping me to distinguish the constructive feedback from the destructive.

Pieter Messelink
Pieter Messelink
Pieter Messelink is a project manager in missions and evangelism with De Verre Naasten (Distant Neighbor). Distant Neighbor helps churches grow worldwide, announces God's love and fights poverty and injustice. They do this in partnership with local churches or Christian organizations. They support their programs, along with local churches (commissioning bodies) in the Netherlands, with knowledge, people, and financial resources.

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