How do you react to someone saying to you, “Can we talk?” Those three words bring our minds to wonder what we might have said or done. That questions usually signals for us a critique. It either makes aware of something we didn’t see or confirms a reality we already see.
Negative words seem louder. You can hear a thousand compliments but focus on the one piece of critical feedback. Our eyes can easily spot the flaw and weakness of not only ourselves but of others. When we reflect on our thoughts, how often do we think about what we want to say to others thinking that if they can only hear us they would change?
Usually, the most critical person of others has an equal or greater criticalness of themselves. People can live in the constant cycle of not only tearing others down but themselves. An overly critical perspective misses the gift of grace.
The Good News of the Gospel reshapes our perspectives. Jesus Christ has offered us grace through His forgiveness, love, and reconciliation of us. That changes the way we see ourselves and others. Transformation happens when we recognize what Christ has done for us and has done in others.
A critical perspective emphasizes self, but a view shaped by the Gospel begins to see the process of God working in us personally and in others. Understanding the Gospel for us and others starts with grace then works towards truth.
Dr. James B. Richards in How to Stop the Pain speaks of how our critical perspective changes to see God at work:
When I am delivered from a critical eye, I will see people as God sees them. I will always know that the Spirit of God can work in them to solve every problem and conquer every obstacle. You see, our confidence in people is directly related to our confidence in God. When we see the best in them, they will see, and live the best God has to offer them. (pg. 51)
Today, we can begin the process of moving away from a critical perspective and move to a Gospel focus, which starts to see the grace of Christ at work. What we say and think of others reflects the grace we have received from God.
How does the grace of God challenge a critical perspective? Who in your life do you have an over critical perspective rather than seeing them through God’s grace?
Photo credit by Dietmar Becker.