Monday, November 29, 2010

Giving and receiving criticism - a display of love

Love your neighbor as yourself. I don’t believe that Jesus is teaching we need to work hard to love ourselves. Truly, that isn’t hard work; it is natural. Jesus assumes we will love ourselves in a self-sacrificial way, and that natural, fleshly self-love can actually instruct us in ways to love our neighbor.

Particularly, this has some bearing on how we criticize others and how we handle criticism. At times, rebuke is in order. At times, people and systems need critique. Such critique is not necessarily unchristian. It is part and parcel of living in a fallen world. Having said that, I find there is often inconsistency with how I give criticism and how I receive it. These thoughts represent a desire to close the gap of that particular inconsistency. They shouldn't in any way function as a list of demands I place on others, but rather a helpful guide to me in loving others.

  • I want people to give me room not to be perfect. If I want that for myself, I should give others the space to not be perfect as well.
  • I want people to realize that they do not sit in my seat. They don’t have a view of the situation from my vantage point.
  • I want people to realize that I am least trying to do what I think is right. I often am very frustrated to have people judge my motives.
  • I would rather have the opportunity to explain myself, than to have someone jumping to conclusions.
  • I want people to realize that it is very hard not to take criticism personally.
  • I want people to do some damage assessment of their criticism.
  • I want those who have my best interests in mind to give me honest feedback.
  • I want people to be sensitive to timing.