Saturday, October 08, 2005

Criticism and the Cross

Criticism, correction and conflict - Sadly, they seem to go together all too often. And Christian homeschool families are often no different. No one likes to be corrected and criticized especially if its done harshly. Our natural tendency to get defensive whenever anyone finds fault in anything we say or do. But criticism and correction don't have to result in conflict and broken relationships. Peacemaker Ministries has an article by Alfred J. Poirier titled "The Cross and Criticism" . It explains how one may handle criticism so that that we can grow as Christians and honor God as a result. Here's a brief excerpt

Criticism in a broad sense as referring to any judgment made about you by another, which declares that you fall short of a particular standard. The standard may be God's or man's. The judgment may be true or false. It may be given gently with a view to correction, or harshly and in a condemnatory fashion. It may be given by a friend or by an enemy. But whatever the case, it is a judgment or criticism about you, that you have fallen short of a standard.

How can we move from always being quick to defend ourselves against any and all criticism toward becoming instead like David who saw it as gain? (snip)

The answer is through understanding, believing, and affirming all that God says about us in the cross of Christ.n light of God's judgment and justification of the sinner in the cross of Christ, we can begin to discover how to deal with any and all criticism. By agreeing with God's criticism of me in Christ's cross, I can face any criticism man may lay against me. In other words, no one can criticize me more than the cross has. And the most devastating criticism turns out to be the finest mercy. If you thus know yourself as having been crucified with Christ, then you can respond to any criticism, even mistaken or hostile criticism, without bitterness, defensiveness, or blameshifting. Such responses typically exacerbate and intensify conflict, and lead to the rupture of relationships. You can learn to hear criticism as constructive and not condemnatory because God has justified you.

The point is amazingly simple and true.

(Thanks to Marcia Somerville at Tapestry of Grace for recommending this article.)

Ohter articles of interest: Help! There's a Bully in My House

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