Everybody’s a critic.
I know it’s true about me, and I’m going to assume – with a surprising level of accuracy in the middle of that assumption – that it’s true about you. Whether you’re in ministry or married, whether you’re a parent or a CEO, whether you’re dealing with a roommate or a rulebook, we all have opinions about a wide variety of things, and we’re not often shy about making those opinions known. We know how it ought to be done, and we don’t mind helping other people figure out how it ought to be done. (Exhibit A: the comment section on political blogs.)
If you are a leader, you are actually charged with watching for things that don’t match the mission of your team. If you are a parent, raising your kids to love Jesus sometimes means helping identify the sins that easily entangle them. If you manage a company or a department, you have to call out the areas that are keeping you from reaching your goals.
But there is a difference between having a critical eye and a critical spirit. (I borrow this phrase from my friend Todd Adkins, who used it on an episode of the New Churches podcast. I don’t know if it’s original to him, but since Todd is the 67th smartest person that I know, let’s give him credit.)
Critical eyes can be life giving and maintains the dignity of the individual. Critical spirits seek to fix the process, regardless of how it may hurt the person. Critical eyes point out problems but help find solutions. Critical spirits have many questions, but few answers. Critical eyes build up. Critical spirits tear down.
We’re entering into a short series on this topic. In the next post, I’ll take a quick dive into how we can know whether we have a critical spirit. And after that, we’ll tackle a few ways that we we can maintain a critical eye in order to actually help our church / organization / family. If you have questions, ideas or observations about the topic du jour, leave a comment below or click here to contact me directly.
View all the posts in this series:
- Critical Eye vs. Critical Spirit
- Seven Ways to Know if You Have a Critical Spirit
- Eight Ways to Develop a Critical Eye