Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer (1Jn 3:15). Negativity and criticism are unpleasant to receive, and undoubtedly corrosive of the soul which dispenses them vindictively. And chocolate isn’t always the answer. There’s criticism and criticism, of course: some is edifying and building up; some is manipulative and destructive. Constructive criticism is undoubtedly still hurtful, but destructive criticism is poisonous.
The Bible says a lot about criticism, but it distinguishes between prejudicial judgment and ‘speaking the truth in love’. There’s nitpicking and faultfinding, and there’s faithful rebuke: ‘Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful‘ (Prov 27:6).
As Christians we are supposed to love those who hate us. But how do you love those who seek to tear you down for confronting injustice? How do you love those who repay kindness with abuse? How do you love those who insist on floating in a sea of tranquility when God demands a bit of boat-rocking? If someone is caught in sin, the last thing they’ll feel from your rebuke is love and compassion.
Critics can be patient and kind, or they can be bitter, patronising and cold-hearted. How do you pray for them? How do you heal relationship? Can you even be be bothered to handle negative and critical people in church?
Well, here you go. The blog thread below invites positive affirmation as well as negativity and criticism.
For future episodes, please feel free to send your questions directly to the TGI Monday team.