TODAY'S WORD 4U 2DAY
Effective criticism‘If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you.’ Matthew 18:15 NIV
The Bible tells us to ‘encourage one another and build each other up’ (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV). But sometimes, we need to point out where someone’s going wrong. If they’ve started going down the wrong path and are making decisions that are harming themselves and others, we may need to speak up. Nobody likes criticism and no one likes to hear the word ‘no’, but sometimes it’s necessary. We just need to make sure that we’re saying it in a loving, constructive and sensitive way. Jesus reminds us that we can point out where others have wronged us, but we should try and do it privately before involving anyone else in the situation (take a look at Matthew 18:19-17). We also need to avoid judging others. Criticising effectively means avoiding casting judgement. After all, none of us are perfect. In Matthew 7, Jesus asks: ‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye’ (vv. 3-5 NIV). So not only do we need to be avoiding judging others, we also need to be prepared to take a look at ourselves, and allow others to point out where we’re going wrong too. If we need to criticise, let’s do it effectively, full of encouragement and care.
Know someone who’s heading down the wrong path? Find time to speak to them in private about it. Pray beforehand that your words would be encouraging and not judgemental.