Let’s say you have a problem with someone. They do or say – or neglect to do or say – certain things. “This is wrong,” you say to yourself, “I need to speak up.”
I’m cool with this. If you love somebody, you ought to be honest and encouraging to them. Part of love is occasional questioning or correction.
However, if you decide to make your criticisms public, say preaching about someone’s perceived faults or writing blog posts about them, then your criticisms must be fair. The minute that folks see you exaggerating or using inflammatory language, thoughtful people will tune you out.
On the other hand, if you are fair and loving the audience can feel that you really care. Care – not about being right, but about a person’s soul. If you show heartfelt love, people will listen.
A few related thoughts:
- Sermons and blog posts are hardly the place for personal criticism. If you care about someone, talk to them in person. I’ve said this before.
- If you receive criticism, try to find the truth. Forget how harsh, unfair, or inappropriate the criticism may be. Your accuser probably wouldn’t have said it without some reason. Repent and live above reproach.
- God is your judge, not man. Do what pleases Him and ignore those who would tear you down.
1 Timothy 3:2 “Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach…”
1 Peter 2:11-12 “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”
Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.”