After a church service in which the minister had preached about spiritual gifts, he was greeted at the door by a woman who said, “Pastor, I believe I have the gift of criticism.”
He responded, “Do you remember the person in Jesus’ parable who had the one talent? Do you recall what he did with it?”
“Yes,” replied the woman, “he went out and buried it” (Matthew 25:18)
With a smile, the pastor suggested, “Go, and do likewise!”
If criticism is not given lovingly and with an honest desire to help, it can be cruel and destructive. The words of Lev. 19:17 “— rebuke thy neighbor”,— are preceded by warnings against spreading slander and nursing hatred.
You can determine when you should criticize and when you shouldn’t by asking yourself three questions:
Am I motivated by a desire to help the other person?
Am I planning to face him honestly, but gently?
Am I doing this for the Lord, or because I enjoy being critical?
If your goal is to help, if your motives are loving, and if your desire is to please God, then go ahead and criticize. If you can’t pass these tests, keep quiet.—Richard De Haan