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April 29, 2019

Ep.1071: Should Christians Criticize Anyone?

Uncovering and applying the principles of positive criticism

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Is it okay for our criticism to be harsh if it is for someone's benefit?

When can we be critical to someone who calls us out in public?

How can we maturely handle harsh and unloving criticism?

How should we appropriately give criticism?

Theme Scripture: Hebrews 10:24

Why criticism?  We don’t like it.  For the vast majority of us, receiving it invokes feelings of angst, anger and resentment.  Being criticized usually ends in a sense of being defeated and often leads us to resentment and a desire to lash out at whoever has been critical to give them a taste of their own medicine.  These are bad results no matter how we view them.  Have you ever noticed how much more free-flowing being critical is than grace and kindness?

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Even so, it may come across as somewhat shocking how important criticism is in Christianity.  It turns out that we all need to be shown our faults, weaknesses and inconsistencies in order to be better followers of Jesus.  The key is in why the critical observations are made and how they are delivered.  Once we understand these two things, we can then be open to the masterful art of positive criticism!

The amazing thing about criticism is that if given properly, it can produce excellence, extraordinary motivation and champions.  By the same token, criticism given improperly can produce anger, retribution and failure.  It is revealing how the same action can produce completely opposite results.  This begs the question – why?  There are two primary reasons for this discrepancy.  Understanding them brings great insight into the giving and receiving of criticism.

Criticism can be SO good or SO bad:
Reason #1:  Why is it being dished out?  Are we criticizing someone because we simply don’t like them, we’re getting back at them or we want to see them crash and burn?  If so, chances are our critique is founded in emotion, vitriol or jealousy.

On the other hand, we might be critical because we disagree and are looking for resolution, or we are really trying to help.  We are likely motivated by their well-being and the betterment of all involved if we seek to be constructive to build them up.  Show me the reason for a critical expression and I will show you the likely destiny of that critical expression.

Reason #2:  The delivery.  Usually the way we communicate any critique has to do with our motivation.  Does my delivery have significant emotion?  Am I pressing extra hard to watch my criticism recipient quiver with fear, or do I have some fear and trepidation of my own based on my concern for that person’s well-being?  Show me how a criticism is delivered and I will show you a story of dysfunction or a story of concern.

Check out our April 29, 2019 podcast, “Should Christians Criticize Anyone?” for more.  We have here only scratched the surface regarding the power of criticism.  How do we handle public or unjust critiques?  More importantly, how do we deliver criticism in a way that not only helps the recipient but also glorifies God?  These are things we need to know!


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1 reply
  1. Chris Martire
    Chris Martire says:

    Thank you for addressing this topic. This is one of your podcasts of which I will keep a copy of the Show Notes handy–such a good reminder for me to not fall into the easy trap of criticizing others. I really appreciated Jonanthan’s example and can relate to not wanting to make judgments on others that may be criticizing me. I love Psalm 141:3 for that reason. Thank you again!


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