I don’t think there is anyone who enjoys receiving criticism. However, most people are aware that if you are a living, moving, human being then you will receive criticism at different points in your life. Some criticism is destructive, but there is some that can help us to grow and become better people.
So how do we give criticism that can help people and not undermine or diminish their self worth?
The Bible is a great place to start. It gives some sound advice for how to give criticism. In Ephesians 4: 15 it says; “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” There are three principles here that guide us when we have to critique someone.
1. You should not avoid speaking to a person when they need to be confronted
It says, “speak,” in other words, you have to be verbal. You cannot give signals, or simply walk away from the person, you need to open your mouth and ‘speak.’ The first thing you have to do is determine that you will go and confront the person verbally.
2. You should speak honestly and kindly to the person you are confronting
The Bible guides us by saying, ‘speak the truth.’ You can be kind to a person or you can be nice. And there is a difference! If my friend wanted to be nice to me she could say, “Carol you sing beautifully.” That would be nice, but it would not be kind because I don’t sing beautifully, and no person should ever be subjected to sounds emanating from my vocal chords. If my friend wanted to be kind and truthful she would probably say; “Carol, you have many talents, but singing is not one of them.” And then she would encourage me to pursue my strongest gift. I might be slightly offended, but I would know the truth of what was being said.
3. You should speak kindly and sincerely to a person with the desire to see them grow
Again the Bible is clear, ‘Speak the truth in love.’ You should never criticize somebody if you are angry or bitter because your words will not be helpful and could be harmful. Often words that come from an angry and bitter heart cause more destruction and heartache than is sometimes intended.
If you are facing a challenge where you need to confront and critique someone then pause, plan a good time to go and speak to the person, and pray for wisdom as you confront them with the truth. Above all, ensure that your heart is right and that you want their best.
I trust your day will be blessed and that the truth you speak to someone today will be wrapped in love and kindness. If your words are loving and honest they could propel someone into a bright future or they could be a healing balm for some hurting soul. Words are powerful - use them wisely!
I am and always will be,
Recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,
P.S. Feel free to leave comments...I would love to hear your thoughts!