“Where there is no guidance, a people falls,
but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”
Proverbs 11:14 (ESV)
“… submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Ephesians 5:21 (ESV)
Critics have given the word “critique” a negative connotation. They are quick to point out flaws or write scathing reviews to increase readership or to feel better about themselves. Besides the professional critics, the online world has anonymous reviews on message boards. Now everyone can be a critic, and their opinions have been given a platform that is out of proportion to their expertise.
What is the difference between being a critic and offering critique? A critic only points out the flaws to build their personal brand or to feel superior. Someone who is giving critique offers solutions to the flaws with a desire for the work itself to be better, many times without anyone knowing they were involved in the process. Critics focus on themselves. Those offering critique focus on others.
As content creators, we need to understand this difference. Critique is essential in order to help us to do our best work for the Lord. So we must embrace critique by inviting people we trust to provide feedback on our work.
Our Work Does Not Define Us
The first step in accepting critique is to understand that we are not our work—our work does not define us.
Yes, we have poured ourselves into the creation process. Our blood, sweat, and tears have flowed in abundance—sometimes literally. However, our value is not in what we do but in the value God has placed on us—the value of who we are in Christ.
Pride Brings Destruction, but Humility Lifts Up
The second step in accepting critique is to take a position of humility regarding our work.
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18 ESV)
Pride insists that we know what we are doing and that we have mastered a skill. Humility reminds us that there is always room for improvement or principles to learn, even from critics.
We Learn by What We Do
The third step in accepting critique is to provide it to others. We must speak the truth in love to those around us as to how they can improve in their work. In doing so, we seek to lift them up and not tear them down. We seek to encourage them in their work to bring even more glory to God. And by doing this, we will better understand how to receive similar feedback with grace.
“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.” (1 Peter 1:22 ESV)
We must remember that we are not being critical—pointing out flaws without offering solutions—but we are offering critique from a spirit of humility, kindness, and love. It is all about Christ and not about us. We do it in the spirit in which we would like it to be done for us. (Matthew 7:12 ESV)
The Good Becomes Great
When we accept critique from others and use what we learn to make our work better, something that was good can become something great.
Case in point: In the process of writing this devotional, it was brought to my attention that the closing was weak. After reading it over, I had to agree—the last paragraph was landing flat.
So what better way to end this discussion than to raise my hand and say, “I need help seeing where to improve”?
Loving but honest critique can be the difference between a good product and a great product.
Or an okay ending and a slightly better one.