Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, said, “If you want to make a dent in the universe, you’re going to take a few dents in your armour here and there.” When you do anything you will find out that someone will be critical. And, if you just sit there and do nothing, someone will be critical. The world is full of people who believe that their spiritual gift is criticism and that their ministry is to be critical of everyone.
No one needs a critic. However, everyone needs someone who will critique the way they live and what they are doing. It’s like a healthy form of criticism. Critique is the method used by a qualified (key word here) person who will observe someone or the work they do so that they can help them be better and do better. We can all benefit from critique. We seldom benefit from someone who is simply critical and out to tear us down.
When we listen to critique, it helps us identify our blind spots and see places we can get better. The Bible says it this way: “Listen to advice and accept disciple, and you’ll be wise for the rest of your life” (Proverbs 19:20 ISV).
So, while criticism can be lousy, even dangerous, critique can be incredibly healthy, ever helpful. You can think of one as lousy criticism and the other as helpful critique. The primary difference is in the carrier – the intent of the carrier, the words of the carrier, the spirit of the carrier. So, let’s outline the differences….
Criticism versus Critique
Critics are self-appointed Critique is invited
Criticism finds fault Critique looks for ways to improve
Criticism condemns Critique encourages
Criticism is an accuser Critique is an ally
Criticism is designed to bring you down Critique is designed to build you up
Criticism is opinionated Critique is collaborative
Criticism complains Critique considers
Criticism can be hurtful Critique can be helpful
Criticism magnifies the negative Critique magnifies the positive
We all need a coach – someone who will critique our lifestyle and our work. Most of us can do without the critics. A coach (mentor) will give us valuable input into life and ministry and we are wise to heed their advice and input.
Proverbs 13:18 ESV “Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honoured.”
Proverbs 12:1 ESV “He who hates reproof is stupid!”
The Bible does not hold back – it says it as it is and certainly is “keeping it real.”
We become the best version of who we’re meant to be when we are coachable, eager to learn, and are open to correction and instruction.