“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”
Norman Vincent Peale
Recently I was ‘called out’ by another Christian for something I said that hurt her feelings. When she began to speak, I must admit, I felt heat rise up my neck and into my face. I wanted to stop her and say, “You are judging me!” But instead, I prayed for wisdom on how to listen with God’s ears and not my own. It wasn’t easy, mind you.
And you know what? She was right and I was wrong. Furthermore, what she said helped me to make it right.
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.”
I tell you this because I believe it is a misconception that we are not to criticize or judge as Christians. What my friend did was constructive. It helped restore our relationship and taught me a lesson.
“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
Since God loves and wants the best for us, He points out faults, shortcomings, and sins. The scriptures above show that He uses others to do that at times.
Ephesians 4:15 tells us to speak the truth in love. This means before bringing a fault or sin to someone’s attention, we need to do a few things first.
- PRAY ABOUT IT
- CHECK YOUR MOTIVES
If it is not based in love and restoration, it’s better to not say anything.
- MAKE SURE CRITICISM IS BASED ON TRUTH
Whether you are the recipient or the administrator, Biblical criticism is to be helpful, loving, and based on truth. http://t.co/GrNytKnxGZ
— Beckie Lindsey (@BeckieLindsey_) August 18, 2015
So timely and needed. It’s almost as if you said there is an art to confronting another. But the truth is, only God’s love, through us, guides the brush strokes to create the picture for both to see. Beautifully written, as usual. P.S. You’ve stepped on my toes, again.
Well, said Ron. Thanks!
What a much needed and powerful message! I pray that God will give me a humble heart that’s open to godly criticism so I will look less like me and more like Christ every day! Thanks Beckie! This is great!!!
Thanks, sweet sister in Christ and fellow writer! Your comment means a lot.
Beckie, I know you’re talking about relationships here, but as a poet and writer who occasionally critiques poems and manuscripts, I’ve found that people sometimes have similar reactions, even if they’ve paid to have their work evaluated! Most of us prefer back pats, but criticism given in the right spirit can help us to improve a particular area. Thanks for this word. I’ll highlight your post on the Christian Poets & Writers blog – http://www.christianpoetsandwriters.com – and pray God helps us to be receptive to any changes needed in our lives in Christ and in our writing lives too. God bless.
Mary, yes, relationships were my primary focus because they are most important, but this goes for giving and receiving criticism in general. Thanks for your comment and I’m honored to be in the Christian Poets & Writers blog post!
I once heard some one ask: are you saying it in love or are you loving to say it?
I like that! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for those convicting words!
I loved this post. Thank-you for the reminder.
I totally agree that it is a misconception for us not to criticize nor judge others. We are called to judge and critique others. However, that judgement or criticism must be supported by fact and backed by scripture. Prejudgment on the other hand, has roots in sin.
Scott, I totally agree with you. Thanks for commenting.
I agree as Christians we have a duty, responsibility, to be iron sharpening iron and help our brothers and sisters along the path. Just as I would want someone to correct me when I fail, because without that prodding, I may continue failing my way right off God’s path. And really, who wants off that path once you’ve been on it?
Yes, I don’t want to drift away from God. His word tells us that we are like sheep who are prone to wander. I’m so glad for “true” friends who are brave enough to point out when I’m heading in the wrong direction. The path may be narrow, but with the help of other Christians and His Spirit, we can do it!