7 Questions for Giving Criticism in a Godly Way

Giving and receiving criticism is never fun. IN fact, if it's done in the wrong way, it can leave lasting damage to the recipient as well as the relationship we have with them. That's why it's always important to approach criticism in a way that is glorifying to God and good for the other.

In an article that orginaly originally appeared in the Spring 1999 issue of The Journal of Biblical Counseling, (Vol. 17, No. 3), and was reposted on Peacemakers Ministries website, Dr. Alfred J. Poirier, lists a seven "heart attitudes" are necessary in giving criticism in a Godly manner. I've listed them here as questions to ask ourselves before talking with others.

Do I see my brother/sister as one for whom Christ died? (1 Cor. 8:11).
Keep on loving each other as brothers (Heb. 13:1).
Am I going as an sinner with an equal need of God's forgiveness and grace?
Are we any better than they? Not at all. For there is no one righteous...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:9,23).

Have I examined my heart know if my motives are correct?
All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD (Prov. 16:2).
The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil (Prov. 15:28).
A wise man's heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction (Prov. 16:23).

Have I examined my own life and confessed my own sins first?
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck out of your eye," when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye (Matt. 7:3-5).

Am I willing to be patient with the person I approach, and stay in it for the long haul? (Eph. 4:2).
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (1 Cor. 13:4).

Is my goal to build up through constructive criticism, instead of condemning by debating points?
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may give grace to those who listen (Eph. 4:29).
Can I correct and rebuke my brother/sister gently, in the hope that God will grant him/her the grace of repentance even as I myself repent of my own failures through His grace?
And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth... (2 Tim. 2:24-25).

Read the entire article here.