by Derek Hill
Criticism is defined as “the act of criticizing usually unfavorably.” (merriam-webster.com) I think this definition is one of the better ones. Most of the time criticism is a negative thing but constructive criticism can be a positive outlet to build someone up while still helping them through some flaws, mistakes or weakness they may have. Whether you criticize in a negative or positive way, the main thing to remember is that YOU have the choice to decide how you will criticize. What does the Bible say about criticism? Let’s take a look!
NEGATIVE IS FOOLISH
“Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in Heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words.” (Ecclesiastes 5:2-3)
Any kind of negative criticism is unnecessary and foolish. As the scripture says, a fool has many things to say. People who are negative have an issue with pride. They think they are better and smarter than you and by how they talk down at you makes them feel good and it puffs up their over-sized ego. Their comments aren’t there to help you; they are there to make you feel inadequate and dumb. When they make you feel dumb, they feel superior and that is where all of this negativity festers from. They have a drive to overpower you. But fear not! God is always with the humble and anyone who continues in this negative lifestyle is in trouble! “The fear of the Lord is the hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate!” (Proverbs 8:13)
CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM/BE SMART
“Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.” (Proverbs 9:8)
Constructive criticism will only work on someone who wants to become wise and learn. To the fool this will only make him lash out more, mostly because of his own insecurity that you are right. Fools love to make you feel dumb, and they hate it when others make them look dumb. This is the key. A fool thinks you make them look dumb when you correct them. A wise person thinks that you are right and therefore will increase in learning and become a little bit wiser because of it.
So, this takes some discretion on your part. You need to be wise and know if it is even worth it. I have 2 people in my mind right now: a fool and a wise man. I know these 2 people and I know how each one will react when I correct them. This is how you must approach this decision. You need to know in advance how someone will react to you. A fool will not care what you have to say. Don’t waste your breath on them. Still love them and be kind but don’t bother with correction.
HOW DOES GOD CRITICIZE?
“The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise.” (Proverbs 15:31)
Well, God is very critical of us because we have an issue called sin, which His own Son, Jesus, died for. Sin is no joke to God and He will be critical of us. In the book of Job you will see a conversation take place between Job and three of his so-called “friends”. The whole dialogue in a general sense consists of the friends berating Job and Job defending himself while complaining and wishing he was dead. Near the end God steps in with a lengthy discourse on how unworthy and unwise they all are.
He starts it off by saying, “Who is this that darkens My counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to Me.” (Job 38:2-3) God’s whole discourse criticizes the men’s own intellect and power which is pitiful in the presence of God. God is a God of love and of wrath. He is a jealous God and He will criticize every single sin you’ve made if you die without accepting Jesus. He will be your judge at your last breath! However, God will gladly give us wisdom and critique us in a positive way if we will only listen. God’s reproof leads to life, but only the wise man will hear it and obey. And the wisest decision you will ever make while you are alive is choosing to obey God and accept Jesus as your Savior for the remission of your sins.
Criticism is all about attitude. You can criticize others to make yourself feel good and make them look dumb. Or, you can constructively criticize others and help them become better people and wiser at the same time. You have to want to help others if you are going to critique them in a positive way. So, make the choice today! Be positive! And if you are still wandering through life without a Savior, please consider Jesus today! You will become blameless in the eyes of God the moment you choose Jesus. May God bless you as you continue to live a life worthy of the calling!
This article was originally published on What Christians Want to Know here