Skip to main content

Is it valid?

It is a badge of honor to accept valid criticism. (Proverbs 25:12 TLB)

Have you ever been criticized for something -- criticism you didn't deserve? Maybe it was something others could not know all the details about right then and there, but you had to take some immediate action in order to prevent some other action coming along that would hurt all those who stand there criticizing your present action. Now, that one just plain hurts, doesn't it? Perhaps it was the time you weren't as eloquent as you could have been in expressing yourself, but something needed to be said and you stepped up to say it, then found others picking apart what you said and how it sounded. Those words are picked apart, analyzed, and scrutinized time and time again, all the while finding some fault with them. No one probably knows how many times you have allowed those same words to turn over and over in your own mind, realizing you could have said it better! Valid criticism is one thing - undo criticism is just doggone unkind and unnecessary.

There always comes a time when some action on our part 'deserves' that moment of critique - when you dissect what was said or done and look for ways to do it better the next time. If we are walking with the Lord, those times probably come more often than we might imagine because we get these little prompts from the Holy Spirit to 'evaluate that moment'. Valid criticism is good because it helps us grow. Unwelcome or hostile criticism is not. That actually stunts our growth, or creates even more problems for which we must address new issues requiring even more attention than it would have taken to have had that moment of constructive criticism in the first place! Who defines 'valid' anyway? This has been a debate in one of my work teams about a certain set of tasks we must perform - trying to determine when something is 'valid' is a challenge. Why? We all have our own perspective!

Valid criticism isn't determined by our own standard or perspective, though. It is defined by the standards outlined in scripture. If the action on our part didn't align with one or more of those standards, then we need the honest evaluation of where it is we got off course. Valid criticism is well-founded. If that foundation is the Word of God and the standards laid out there, we will stand a better chance of attaining the desired result. Valid criticism produces the desired result - it causes us to examine our actions/words and then to evaluate where the adjustments need to be made so we don't repeat those actions/words again. This is a good thing - something we don't need to fear or run from. We need the action to be 'pointed out' sometimes because we don't see it as 'invalidating' the standard of God in our lives.

Criticism that produces growth isn't harsh or 'gossipy'. It is to the point, presented in a gracious manner, and has some thought behind it. Rarely is constructive criticism 'given in the moment' - it usually comes when the heat of the moment passes and the other individual is ready to receive it. To attempt to give 'valid criticism' in the moment often meets with hostility, rejection, and hard feelings. It is much better to give that 'cooling off' period, because the other party often begins to realize things didn't go as expected and is actually looking for a way to improve so it won't happen quite the same way again. Valid criticism doesn't point fingers - it is delivered in such a way that it is clear, concise, and given in commitment of the parties to all the parties involved. We need more of this kind of criticism in our world and a whole lot less pointing of fingers and talking about how wrong everyone is, don't you think? Just askin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Noticed by grace

Stop and notice life around you from time to time - you might just be surprised by what you observe!
Sometimes we miss the "little things" in life. I guess I am as guilty of "glossing over" stuff as the next person. I wonder how much I really miss out on because I never stop long enough, listen close enough, or draw close enough to really "catch" what is happening? There are times when life passes us by at break-neck speed, or perhaps we are passing it by at that insane speed! Slow down, listen a little, get in touch with things and people around you. Notice stuff - it might just blow your mind!

I spelled out your character in detail to the men and women you gave me. They were yours in the first place; then you gave them to me, and they have now done what you said. They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that everything you gave me is firsthand from you, for the message you gave me, I gave them; and they took it, and were convinced that I came fro…

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce …

Getting at the heart of it all

Have you ever seen someone so good with their skinning knife they can just peel away the hide of an animal without a rip or tear, no waste of any of the meat just below that skin? I have seen some fishermen able to fillet their catch with such skill not even one bone is found in the fillet. How do they learn this skill? I think it comes to them through practice and with the employment of the right 'tool' to do the job at hand. There is comfort in knowing that God means what he says and his Word will come to pass. His Word is like the scalpel in the skilled hands of a surgeon or the knife in the hands of the skilled hunter. As a nurse, I have seen the skillful use of the scalpel - dissecting away the finest of tissue to protect the healthy tissue and to expose the tissue that has become devitalized by disease or decay. I have also seen the damage done by a "blade" in the hands of one not trained or at all skilled in its use. The difference is beyond description.

God m…