By Gray Cole
If you share your hopes, dreams and passions with the world, you are opening yourself to criticism. Hopefully, some criticism will be constructive and provide the refinement you need, but some will be destructive, if not hateful, in nature.
You will be criticized, but you will also be given the opportunity to critique. It is important for Christians to know the difference between constructive and destructive criticism, and utilize criticism constructively when given the opportunity.
Several years ago, I attended a Christian music camp with some friends. The camp was being taught by some of the biggest names in Christian music. One night my friend Louis (not his real name) tore apart a new album released by one of the bands teaching. The next day I was eating lunch with a group when one of the teachers joined us. He started talking, and we realized that he was the lead guitarist of the band Louis verbally destroyed the night before. Louis then joined the group. Before I could warn him, one of the guys asked him his opinion on the band’s album again. What followed was a verbatim dismemberment of everything brutally wrong with the album from the night before. When Louis finished, he asked what band the teacher was a part of. It was one of Louis’ most embarrassing life-moments.
There are some important things to remember when we give criticism:
- Words Have Power – Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. False: all three hurt. Criticism needs to be truthful, challenging and inspiring. You need some time to formulate words in the right order to give the best response.
- Talk Like You’re Face to Face – Social media has created a smoke screen. You can be as destructive as you want when you’re not in the same room. The situation is different when you’re looking a person in the eyes.
- Speak to Build Up, Not to Tear Down – Criticism is meant to create something refined and better. Most people need some words of inspiration to balance a critique. Blaise Pascal said, “Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.” Make sure you throw in some positive words.
James 3:10 says, “And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!”When you get the opportunity to share your thoughts and perspectives, do so with truth, love and wisdom for blessing.