Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Anyone Can Criticize

It's true.

Any idiot like me can have a free blog. Any doofus with two lips and a voicebox who can form words, can form them into criticism of others.

You don't have to be smart, credentialed, unbiased, logical or even a critical thinker in order to be able to criticize.

You don't have to be willing to spend hours in research, or to write or create or dream or do. You don't have to take the time and engage another person's soul in the fine art of friendly persuasion.

All you have to do is know what you like, and what you don't.

You don't have to have a reason for it.

And if you have one, it doesn't have to make sense to anyone but you.

If that.

I don't even know quite what has suddenly prompted this moment of outrage in my soul - maybe it's cumulative - because nothing has really happened in my life of late to nudge it on.

If anything, it's probably a sudden realization that I spend too much of myself in criticism.

It costs nothing. Requires nothing. Generally yields nothing.

And, yes, I'm even talking about constructive criticism. Not just the so-called kind that sugar-coats pure bile; I mean even the best-hearted, best-intentioned kind of criticism.

What does criticism add to anything? At the same time, what can it destroy?

As a general rule, the characters in the Bible, in literature, and in life whom I've encountered spending a lot of themselves in criticism are not my heroes. They aren't happy people. And they don't add to the joy of others.

As a general rule.

I don't want to be one of those people.

Criticism is judgment expressed, and it can be helpful or harmful or neither, depending on the recipient(s). But because it is expressed, it's relational - and has power. Criticism is the nitroglycerin of relationships. It can heal hearts. It can explode them.

It is best used in very small quantities by people who are keenly conscious of what they are doing.

I beg your forgiveness if I have been uncritically critical, whether harsh in disapproval or lavish in praise or shruggish in my indifference.

What you create in your life before God and others is among you and Him and them.

It's not that I don't appreciate criticism - especially the thoughtful, caring kind. It's that I don't want to need it. I don't want to feel so compelled to give it.

And I sure-as-judgment don't want to abuse it.

6 comments:

David U said...

Who could ever criticize you?

DU

flyawaynet said...

I cannot even tell you how much I needed this post. Thank you.

don said...

Nice post, but it was a little long, don't you think?

Greg Taylor said...

Example: if we say we're pacifist, who's going to be the first to get on a plane to Iraq and demonstrate in the streets? Some Mennonites have done just that. It's those who give up what they cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose (Jim Eliot paraphrase) who have a voice, in my opinion, and we ought to duly ignore bloggers who spout without clout of experience.

MichaelPolutta said...

Keith - great thoughts.

Don, you made me laugh out loud!

Lee Hodges said...

"spout without clout" now that is a keeper. Great post by the way!