When I think about my dad, I think about all the lessons he taught me over time. And believe me between he and my mother I’ve learned a lot of lessons. But there a few that stand out more than others. In this series I am going to share some of those lessons that he taught me either directly or indirectly. I hope you will join me each week over the next 5 weeks as I share 5 lessons that I learned from my dad. To read Part 1 Click Here , to read Part 2 click here and for Part 3 click here.
Lesson #4: Being Critical
My parents were very careful about being critical of people. One thing that most people do not realize is that being critical of people and critiquing are two different things. Also being critical and holding people accountable are two different things. So let’s start off by defining the two words: critical and critique.
Critical – “inclined to find fault or to judge with severity, often too readily.”
Critique – “to review or analyze precisely.”
For example; once about a year or two ago I had another blogger critique my blog. She did it precisely. She did not judge my content as much as provided input on what I could improve to make it better for you my reader. I respected her opinion and she brought out some good points. Not once did she try to be mean about things. I was able to make the changes that she suggested and improved the functionality of my blog. Now she could have been critical and down right mean if she wanted to but she understood the difference of critiquing in order to improve and being critical and just finding fault.
A lot of times we as people are very critical toward one another and we try to hide it under the impression that we are just trying to “help” you and make you a “better” person. Yet, in actual reality we are just pointing out flaws or being judgmental when we shouldn’t be. We have also used criticism in a way that we call “holding people accountable”. But we must stop to think about it. Are we trying to hold them accountable to God’s standards or are we just being critical and trying to hold people to how WE think they should be? I mean really? How many of you get tired of being judged by others when you feel there is really no reason to be judged. I should not be judged by other’s “opinions” of how I “should be”. If you are going to judge me and hold me accountable then you should hold me accountable to the Word and God’s standards.
I remember both my mom and dad used to say that we should be very careful about being critical of people. We don’t know what God has asked of them or what they have had to walk through. Also we don’t know their heart. You may think you know better, but you only really know about you. We need to learn to be more critical of ourselves and leaving the judging and critiquing of others to the Holy Spirit. God will bring in the right people, the right words and deal with their hearts themselves. He does not want you to fall into the trap of cynicism.
Have you ever met a cynical and overly critical person? I have and it drives me crazy how they compare everything that others do with how they would do it or how they think it should be done. Not even taking into account that there is probably a good reason that they act, look or do what they do. For all we know they were spoken to directly by God and unless you don’t want people to treat you that way then I recommend you stop being critical of others. God made each of us unique and he made us so that we could fill in different parts of his eternal body. We are not going to think the same, act the same or even do the same actions in the same way.
For instance, Let’s say you have two artists they can be painting the same thing yet their paintings look completely different. Why? Because, they see things from different perspectives. That doesn’t make one person’s painting any better than the other. Nor does it mean that people should choose to like one over the other. It all comes down to personal preference.
Lets say you have 4 people and they are each told to share the gospel with others. One sits down and writes a book, another writes out a song, the third paints a painting and the fourth gets up and preaches. Each person has chosen to share the gospel in their own way using their own unique talents. Do you have to like how all of them did it? No. Does it make their way of sharing the gospel bad? No. They will most likely each reach a different kind of audience but they are all doing the same thing, sharing the gospel of Christ with the World. Should we be critical about the way one or all of them have chosen to share it? Definitely not. Even if we don’t like it we should not criticize or be critical because it comes about differently. In fact we should be supportive that they are using their gifts and talents in order to further the kingdom.
I mean even in music itself there are different genres. I prefer some over others but who am I to keep people from writing, performing, or selling their music that falls into one of the genres I don’t like? Seriously, when we all decide to stop criticizing under the guise of being helpful we will be better off.
Matthew 7:1-2 (NLT) ““Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.”
Join me again next week for part 5 of “5 Lessons I Learned From My Dad”.