Knowing When to Criticize

You see things you don’t agree with all the time:

  •  
    • The service at the restaurant was poor…
    • The way someone lives their life bothers you…
    • The leadership in a community isn’t what you’d hope for…
    • The pastor says something you didn’t agree with…
    • The next door neighbor gets on your nerves…again…

When do you criticize and when do you let it go?

That’s always a dilemma. We don’t want to be seen as critical, but not saying something may enable bad behavior.

I wouldn’t say it’s never right to criticize. I hope if I’m making major mistakes in my life I have friends who think beyond “To each his own” and step in to help me. The best-received criticism, in my opinion comes from a pre-established relationship with another person. How do we know though when to criticize and when to keep our mouth shut?

Here are a few suggestions of when to criticize:

  • When the offense is continual…
  • When it impacts more people than you…
  • When your conscience won’t let you move past it…
  • When you’re assigned a role to suggest improvement (mentor, supervisor, teacher)
  • When it’s against the law…
  • When it violates God’s written Word…

What else would you add to my list of reasons?

Even still, the way one criticizes often determines how well it is perceived. 

Remember: What you sow determines what you reap. If you pile criticism on to others, without legitimate reasons for doing so, you can probably expect to receive undue criticism in return. We shouldn’t avoid giving or receiving criticism, but we need to learn when and how to deliver it.

Question: Would a post on how to offer criticism be helpful?

(I’ve previously written how to respond to criticism and how not to HERE and HERE.)

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Ron Edmondson
Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been helping churches grow vocationally for over 10 years.

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