When I first read the subtitle of this book, I was fervent to read it. As I cracked it open and began to read, I was quite disappointed at its beginning. I was not captured, and it seemed the author was trying too hard to be humorous and did not know where he was going. My high esteem for this book's contents began to deflate and quickly. I persisted, and am so glad that I gave it another chance.
When People Throw Stones by Blaine Allen truly astonished and equipped me in ways regarding criticism I had never experienced before. This book was revolutionary for me in a very simplistic way. Allen takes an approach that is kind, tactful, and challenging all at the same time. When I saw the author’s name, I was not quite sure of his credentials or experience. I had never heard of him before. It turns out that he has been a pastor at three churches and currently serves in a university community. He also the author of Before You Quit: When Ministry is Not What You Thought. After reading When People Throw Stones, I am quite tempted to go and pick up his other book.
I think the reason this book had such a strong and powerful effect on me is that the area of criticism has always been a downfall of mine. I never know whether to accept it or reject it. After reading and understand his premise, the million dollar word that is the answer to my dilemma was in the subtitle, “fielding”. To field criticism is not necessarily a matter of accepting or rejecting, but evaluating with quite an extensive criterion. It wasn’t that the criterion was complex or original, on the contrary it was quite basic, yet it provided a clear and systematic way of evaluating criticism looking beyond the actual words.
As I read, I began to transform my thinking from accepting or rejecting to looking at what you are being criticized for. If the criticism is for something that goes against God’s word, it is easily dismissible. With criticism we tend to replay it over and over in our minds and experience a guilt that is undeserving.
Also, it is important to look at the person who is firing the criticism. This person may criticize for petty things to make others feel miserable because they themselves are miserable. These people should not be taken seriously and their criticism should not hold much weight.
At the same time, if a criticism is repeated from various sources, regardless of the source, it should be evaluated no matter how much it may sting. Allen does a great job of providing gentle ways of self-evaluation and tactics for change.
This book also was loaded with applicable Scripture references and verses that provided substance to his points and ideas. Not only is this book packed with practicality, a nice delivery, and great benefiting suggestions, it is seasoned with God’s Word to solidify the presentation.
I would recommend this book not only to leaders, but to anyone receives or delivers criticism. It will change the way you handle criticism, causing evaluation of the source as well as yourself. Truly, if someone’s criticism is going to end up making you change into a better person, it may not seem so bad to consider it. – Kelley Reid, Christian Book Previews.com
Sticks, stones, and words do hurt. No one knows this better than people in ministry who are often the targets of “Christian critics.” Pastor Blaine Allen helps leaders under attack respond to criticism biblically, working through the bitterness, resentment, and rage that often result. He shows them what to do when they cannot take anymore, when the criticism is accurate, and when they don’t want to forgive. The counsel in this valuable book will help the ministry leader know when to shrug off criticism, when to heed the criticism, and when to say enough is enough.