BY LEANN DILBECK –
Criticism doesn’t feel good. It just doesn’t. It hurts and it may even make us mad.
Everyone is a critic these days and with the convenience of the internet, it’s no longer left to the “professionals” who have a column like “The Critic’s Corner” in the newspaper, critiqueing movies, restaurants, or plays. Everyone with an opinion is now an ‘expert’ on any given subject matter and it’s quickly broadcasted both far and wide. The interesting common denominator in the critics’ equation is the negativity and often “nasty” way that they offer their opinion… belittling and demeaning to the person, service or business… that I can only assume is beneficial to inflating their own personal ego and self-worth.
I particularly love a quote from Lysa TerKeurst about criticism:
“If it’s hurtful, realize their criticism says a lot more about their insecurities than our inadequacies.”
Wow! That really sums it up, doesn’t it? For some people, the best way to make themselves feel better is to criticize someone else. Pride is an ugly thing. “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2
Personally, I value constructive criticism. It makes you or your service better. (Keyword being constructive) All the while, understanding that it is impossible to be all things to all people or to please all people. But I have little value for those who only wish to tear down or criticize someone’s effort without knowing all the details or being able to provide a solution… and one that is not completely self-serving. And don’t hide behind anonymity and be emboldened by your keyboard, hiding behind screen names, etc. If you’re going to put it out there, BACK IT UP, right?
As a natural born ‘people pleaser,’ I’m diligently trying to focus on the 98%… because there is 2% that will never, and I repeat NEVER, be happy. Perhaps, it’s a deeper understanding of a phrase I remember hearing my sweet momma saying, “Some people just aren’t happy, even if you hung them with a new rope!” Well, of course not, Momma, they’re being hung, as my mind used to ponder what on earth that saying meant. But isn’t it just the truth? You know the 2% I’m referring to… they’re in our family, they’re in our schools, they’re in our work, and they’re in our church. They founded groups I know you must be familiar with like the “Committee Against Every Conceivable Positive Idea.”
When do you pay attention to criticism and when do you let it roll-off like water on a duck’s back? When you can discern if the person meant it to help you or to hurt you.
Let us also remember that the next time, we too, feel like an expert and want to offer our own criticism. Are we helping or hurting? Wipe the smirk off and remember, no matter how much you say you mean it to be helpful, God knows our hearts.
Criticisms meant to be helpful should not feel like attacks. And we should also realize that when they do, we should practice the most challenging art of self-control because after all, staying calm is as much of a gift to ourselves as it is our offenders.
Like so often discussed, there are two-sides to every story and we should all hesitate more often when offering our million dollar opinion, recognizing that we may not have all of the facts.
There will always be differences of opinions, but if we truly desire to live our lives in a way that honors and reflects God, we will remember that our words and actions should be edifying to others and not destructive to the soul.
Let your light shine bright because it’s full of Jesus… blowing out someone else’s candle does not make yours shine any brighter.