A Short Note – Taking and Giving Criticism – 11-29-2016

Today’s ‘Short Note’ is all about – Taking and Giving Criticism

It's easy to offer criticism of someone who fails
I don’t know about you, but I really am not a fan of being criticized by others.  I grew up in a family that seemed to emphasize the negatives far more than any positives and as a result, for a significant part of my life, I tended to become defensive when I received any criticism.

As I grew and matured, I finally realized that a significant part of the problem was not that I was being criticized, it was ‘how’ I was being criticized.  The issue was not what was said, but how it was said.  Once I was able to understand that difference, the words in Ecclesiastes chapter 7 verse 5,about considering the source  made sense.  “It is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man than for one to listen to the song of fools.”

A wise person will find a way to correct another person’s behavior without resorting to the use of insults or demeaning language.  A foolish person will simply use the cruelest possible language to make certain a person is aware that they have done something wrong.  Now whenever I hear someone offering a criticism of either another, or myself I try to understand where that individual is coming from.  Is the person themselves unsure of how and what they are doing?  Are they unsure of their own personality or do they have a self-esteem issue?  If those are true then I usually take their criticism with a grain of sale.

The same concept applies whenever I am tempted to criticize someone else.  I have to make certain of my own life and I must approach that person with understanding and humility.  In Romans chapter 2 verse 1; “Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.” A school of thought says this means that we shouldn’t ever criticize or pass judgment on another person.  That is not what it says.  It states very clearly, that when we do judge another person’s actions, or offer our criticism to them, we had better make certain that we are not guilty of doing the exact same things.

Criticism done for the right reasons, such as to help a person have a better life, is fine, to criticize a person simply to be mean is wrong and hateful.  So the next time you receive criticism, consider the source and the next time you criticize, make sure you’re not guilty of the same things.

Ask Jesus to help you figure it out.

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