One thing to understand is most likely they are difficult for a reason. They are hurt, angry, broken, confused, or simply sinful in their attitude. Either way, we have to love them. That’s our calling as believers. We may have to challenge them at times, and that’s part of discipleship, but we have to love them first. Many times, I’ve found if we love them we can actually begin to temper their negativity – at least lessen their volume.
2. Filter negative talk.
Ask yourself if what they are saying lines up with truth. Is it true? If not, dismiss it quickly, so it won’t begin to control you. When you own falsehood about yourself or the church you validate the person offering it. Plus, you fuel them for further negativity about you or the church. Ultimately, you are looking for truth, not one person’s opinion on truth.
3. Learn when necessary.
We should not refuse to listen to criticism. There is an element of truth in most criticism, even among things you need to ultimately dismiss. Let’s not be arrogant. We should always be humble and teachable.