Holy in the Daily

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Aspects of Criticism That Limit Your Relationships

Do you ever find yourself thinking and speaking critically of another? Yep, me too—especially at times when I feel slighted or misunderstood.

Criticism is more than words; it is the expression of our hearts. We all have times of frustration with others that is a just a part of life. It is what we choose to do with our frustration that gives us influence with God and people and qualifies us to be agents of change in any situation.

My fourth New Year’s resolution reads, “Refuse to criticize others. You wouldn’t do that in Heaven, would you?” No, I wouldn’t. Criticism is not becoming of God’s kids, whether in Heaven or on earth. Here are two important things I’ve discovered about myself when I get into a critical mood.

Criticism equals judgment

When a woman in the church we pastor wants more attention than I’m giving her, I tend to label her as “needy.” However, if I want more attention than what I am receiving from someone, then I label the person as “distant and insensitive.”

Another example would be if my spouse is more concerned about details than I am, he is “picky.” On the other hand, if I am more concerned about details than he is, he is “messy.” Either way, I stand in judgment of him.

Criticism limits my perspective

Criticism may feel justified and give me momentary satisfaction, but when I criticize another, I’m limiting myself. I find that critical assumptions restrict my understanding of a situation or a person. I’m bound by my perspective and miss an opportunity to see a bigger picture.

Both of these aspects of criticism limit my relationships. Therefore, I’m revisiting one of my favorite memorized Scriptures throughout this year—an inner reminder of the grace filled culture of which I’m a citizen: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14 NIV).

Comments? Opinions? Criticism? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

In Him together, Susan Gaddis

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Most times that I criticize another person, and not that person’s actions, I am doing so from a seemingly safe and unfair distance. I am humbled inside when next I meet that person face-to-face, because inside that person’s eyes I see something of myself. That “safe” distance, then, wasn’t safe at all. The sense of guilt I feel — if I accept the feeling for what it is, and not as a pool of self-pity in which to drown my sorrows — is a voice that speaks the words, “Learn from your mistake. Try not to make the same mistake again.”

  2. Susan Gaddis

    That is so true, Anthony. It is hard sometimes to accept our feelings for what they are and avoid the pity party. How much better to use such an experience as a learning exercise so we don’t go around the mountain again. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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