(Dude, we’re 4/5 through this series.  Catch up here.  And here.  And oh yeah…here.)

Everyone’s a critic.  Even you.  Especially you.  And yes, there are times when criticism is well-grounded, edifying, and helpful.  However, there are guidelines to follow.  Here are three questions to ask yourself to get the most bang for your criticism buck:

  1. “Am I approaching in humility?” Can you trace your criticism to pride?  If so, you might want to back up and pray a little more.  Humility is the WD-40 that de-squeaks the rusty hinge of criticism (That’s right, I made that up just now, just for you.  No, no need to thank me…it’s what I do.).  Seriously, a humble approach that doesn’t smack of false humility will go a long way in winning the heart and ear of those you’re talking to.
  2. “Is this a legitimate problem or a personal preference?” You may think your boss is an idiot because he requires a weekly update meeting.  But is a weekly meeting an actual issue?  Does it harm productivity?  Is anyone being hurt by it?  If not…you may be traveling down Criticism Road with a sack full of your preferences.  In that case, you might want to shut it down before your selfish, me-centered heart is exposed.
  3. “Do I have a relationship with this person?” Dave Ramsey says that if you’re going to thump someone on the ear, you’d better have your arm around their neck.  In other words, your criticism will carry more weight with a friend that you’ve demonstrated care for, rather than a stranger you couldn’t care less about.  My personal scientific survey that I just conducted said that I’m 459% more likely to listen to you if we have a previous relationship based on trust, humility, and mutual grace.

 

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