“I think you should know what people are saying…”
That’s how most criticism is received in a pastor’s office.
I’m curious. What do you think the percentage is of people who criticize face to face. Not spouses or children. But extended family, coworkers, friends, other parents, etc.
The truth is most criticism happens in corners. Or… from a distance on social media.
There are many forms of criticism—we’re going to focus on two:
- Constructive – C
- Destructive – Criticism that is demeaning and hurtful. Destructive criticism doesn’t value the relationship and simply wants to prove the person wrong. It focuses on the person.
Distance criticism is always destructive. It is intended to make the critic right not to help or improve the person being criticized. Constructive criticism always happens in person without an audience.
What to do before you offer criticism.
- Ask yourself whether you want to be helpful or hurtful.
- Consider the person’s life experiences and current circumstances.
- Think about ways you can begin by being positive and encouraging.
- Make the decision to avoid words like “always and never.”
- Keep in mind you may not get the outcome you want. (Is it still worth it?)
Finally ask yourself:
Are you doing this for the other person or for yourself? If you are being critical because you need help… read this first.
And promise to never criticize someone to a third person. Never!
What to do when you offer criticism.
Quotes to think about:
Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do.” ~Benjamin Franklin
It’s hard to criticize someone if you are praying for them.” ~Elizabeth George
So let’s stop criticizing each other. Instead, you should decide never to do anything that would make other Christians have doubts or lose their faith. Romans 12:13
“Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others.” ~H. Jackson Brown Jr.
“Christlike communications are expressions of affection and not anger, truth and not fabrication, compassion and not contention, respect and not ridicule, counsel and not criticism, correction and not condemnation. They are spoken with clarity and not with confusion. They may be tender or they may be tough, but they must always be tempered.” ~L. Lionel Kendrick
But if you criticize and attack each other, be careful that you don’t destroy each other. Galatians 5:15
“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.” ~John Wooden
“If it’s very painful for you to criticize your friends – you’re safe in doing it. But if you take the slightest pleasure in it, that’s the time to hold your tongue.” ~Alice Miller
A gentle answer turns away anger, but a sharp word causes anger. Proverbs 15:1
Abraham Lincoln said, “He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.” And Dale Carnegie added, “But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.”
I’ve been on all sides of criticism. I’ve received helpful and hurtful. I’ve given constructive and destructive. I’ve shared criticism as gossip and yes, I’ve even been gossiped about.
By God’s grace I’ve been forgiven and with His help I’ve forgiven others. And because I typically write about things the Lord is working on in me…
With His help I will go through this list before I criticize in the future. Are you with me?
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