“If you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.” Pr 15:32 NLT
Saying the right thing the wrong way usually backfires. So here is “a word to the wise.” If you cannot receive constructive criticism, don’t try to give it. Before you criticize, ask yourself: (1) “Am I interested in this person’s good?” Or do you just need to look good, to have all the answers, to control people, and to gain acceptance and prestige? You can’t help others while you’re focused on your own ego needs. (2) “Am I blame-oriented and judgmental?” If so, you’ll come across that way to others. “Let us stop passing judgment on one another” (Ro 14:13 NIV). To avoid blaming and judging you have to stop talking about why they did it, or who is to blame, or how stupid and selfish and crazy it was, or what’s wrong with them, etc. That’s problem-focused and polarizing, and doesn’t help. (3)“Am I pointing the person toward solutions?” God is a God of solutions. When He found us lost in sin He didn’t give us a critical reminder of our weakness. Instead, “When we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Ro 5:6 NIV). He didn’t give us an analysis of our problem, but a remedy. So, prayerfully suggest, “I wonder if you might not get a more satisfying result by…” then let God drive it home! (4) “Am I speaking truth in love?” Even your sincerest ideas need to reflect that you care. “Speaking the truth in love” (Eph 4:15 NKJV) opens their heart and prepares them to trust you. Love says, “Because I value you, I’d like to offer a suggestion. Would that be all right?”
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