Critique is criticism with a smile.
Speaking to each other about each other’s shortcomings is not easy. Even the best of Christian friendships can cool for a couple of days after one confronts the other on a matter. Though we prefer a gentle critique over a direct criticism or a sharp rebuke, it is hardest when we are expected to take it on the chin and feel like we are being done a favour.
But scripture knows best:
“Better is open rebuke
Than love that is concealed”
However, despite best efforts to say what needs to be said in the nicest possible way, it rests with the hearer to choose a reaction. More often than not the response will be to take offense. Of course, we know this already and will rather say nothing. Thus, whoever penned this proverb also knew what was coming:
“An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city.
Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars” (Proverbs 18:19NLT).
How many times have you heard someone say, “After the way they reacted last time, I’m not saying anything to them”?
As much as feelings matter (and they most certainly do matter), what is right and wrong matters most. When it comes to attitudes and behaviours that are not conducive to spiritual growth, we cannot leave each other unchecked; somebody has to say it!
If we are not careful, we will dance around each other’s faults for so long that it becomes a mockery. That is when we have failed in our duty to correct, and joined in the chorus of the foolish.
“It is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man
Than for one to listen to the song of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:5).