Beth Armstrong

Christian wife, mom, & author. Doing life with my eyes fixed on Jesus. I walk, I stumble, I fall. But God is big. And this is what I write about… Thanks for stopping by!

WHY CRITICISM IS THE BEST WAY TO GO

There are certain things I just don’t understand.
There are certain things I can’t relate to.
There are certain things I criticize.

It all comes in one bundle it seems. I’m not proud of it, it just happens. And it happens to you as well. Think about it: when we don’t understand something, we can’t relate to it. When we can’t relate to it, we criticize it.

It not only happens with circumstances and events and situations, it happens with people too. There are people I don’t understand. There are people I can’t relate to. There are people I criticize.

That which we don’t understand—that which we can’t relate to—we criticize.

Grace

We don’t understand why our friends do the things they do. We can’t relate to it. Therefore we criticize. We don’t understand why our family members act or react the way they do. We can’t relate to that. So we criticize. We don’t understand why our coworkers choose the lifestyle they choose. We can’t relate to it at all. And because of this, we end up criticizing them and their situation.

We criticize what we don’t understand and can’t relate to. Why do we do this? Why do our minds instantly go down the critical path and walk all over the things we don’t understand and can’t relate to?

I think part of it is that we don’t want to understand. We don’t want to relate. We don’t want to identify with these things at all. It would take effort to try and understand. It would take thought and maybe a conversation or two. And why would we bother with that? It’s easier to not understand, not relate, to criticize.

But here’s another reason why we so easily criticize that which we don’t understand and can’t relate to: we want to maintain that we are better than what (or who) we criticize. We don’t consciously do this. But subconsciously we criticize because we want to feel better about ourselves. And we want to appear as though we’re better in the company of our friends, family, and coworkers, so we criticize openly.

There’s a lot I don’t understand. There’s a lot I can’t relate to. There’s a lot I criticize. But I’ll tell you what I’ve been learning the last year or two. It’s this little thing called grace. And grace has taught me that God makes unique people with unique situations. Grace has taught me that at the end of the day, I am no better than that which I don’t understand or can’t relate to. Grace has taught me to embrace people—not necessarily their choices—and love them for the unique individuals that God created them to be. Grace has taught me that it’s fine and dandy for me to cast the first stone if indeed I am without sin. Grace has taught me that I’m not.

Criticism is far easier than grace. Criticism is a better road to journey down for those who want to reserve the right to be above the rest. It’s the best way to go if you want to look better, feel better, and pretend you’re better than the rest.

But here’s the thing… From where I sit, an amazing kind of grace has been given to me—not to hoard for myself, but to give to others. If I have been given much grace, can’t I extend a little bit to others—to the ones I don’t understand…to the ones I can’t relate to…to the ones I criticize?

Some people don’t understand me. Some people can’t relate to me. Some, perhaps more than I want to know, even criticize me. Maybe eventually grace will teach them a thing or two.

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2 thoughts on “WHY CRITICISM IS THE BEST WAY TO GO

  1. Thank you for this, Beth. A friend and I feel led by God to focus on humility this summer and this is a big part of why!

  2. Sarah on said:

    What a great reminder! Thanks Beth…

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