Criticism With Love

I ended up just being angry with my colleague that they would make such a harsh judgment when they really didn't know me at all.

1 Timothy 1:1-20

Reference:  v.5  The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (NIV Bible)

Explore:  Criticism is hard to take at any time, but I find it particularly difficult to take criticism from people who hardly know me.   In one of my part-time jobs I had a fellow colleague criticise my commitment to the job.  We had hardly worked together before this point and they had little evidence to back up their statement.  As I am a person who takes pride in the commitment I give to all the areas of my life, this comment stung me for a while.  However I ended up just being angry with my colleague that they would make such a harsh judgment when they really didn't know me at all.  When someone who doesn't know us makes a judgment upon our actions then it is difficult to take the comment seriously.  However, when someone who knows us well picks up on our behaviour, we need to consider their comment carefully.

Application:  Paul loved Timothy like a son.  They had spent a great deal of time working together and may have even spent some time in prison together.  And so when Paul sends Timothy a letter, giving him feedback and direction, he gives it out of love.  He is not some random person passing by that is happy to share his thoughts on Timothy.  No, he is a friend, a colleague, a partner and a fellow believer that wants the best for Timothy and for the church in Ephesus.  And so Paul starts off this letter by explaining that it comes from a position of love, not of distant criticism.
As we go through life there is no doubt that we will come across people who do things differently to us.  If we are in a position to speak to them about our concerns we need to make sure it comes from a place of love.  If we comment on someone's actions from a distant, critical place then they will not have the right motivation to correct themselves.  However, if the comment comes from love, and the person can see that you are wanting the best for them, then they are more likely to take your analysis on board.  God's grace does not mean that we just let shoddy workmanship go past, but His love does mean that we desire the best for all people involved.

Prayer:  Lord, it is hard to receive criticism and it is often just as difficult to give criticism.  Help us to understand Your love so that we can share it with others, particularly when we are in difficult situations.  Amen.

Has someone criticised you recently?  While it was hard to hear, did they do it from a place of love? 
Do you need to share your critique of someone?  How can you do this in love?

This article was written by Linda Bailey

Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.