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What is a critique for?
It's worth asking.
Is it to tear down something bad?
Is it to poke holes in something weak?
Is it to add value to something that needs work?
Is it to correct something that has gone wrong?
Is it to finally put someone in their place?
Is it to show people how smart I am?
Is it to keep an appearance of truly “seeing” things as they are?
Is it to avoid the responsibility of offering a better solution?
Is it to confirm my cynicism?
Is it to make a case for something better?
Is it to show a better way that the world can be?
Is it to help someone else see the truth?
Is it to expose the shallowness of something in order to show the fullness of something else?
Is it to break free from harmful views and practices?
How you answer this question determines a lot. It may be any one of these at any given time. Our motivations behind our critiques are rarely as transparent to us as we would like them to be.
We might think it’s one answer, but really, it’s another. We might hope it’s one answer but deliver it in a way that accomplishes or is at least perceived as another.
Something becomes apparent when you ask yourself these questions—there are two types of critique: constructive critique and destructive critique.
The presence of critique doesn’t change, but the method and motivations of the critique do. Am I critiquing simply to deconstruct something, or am I critiquing in order to build something better? Am I critiquing simply to destroy someone else, or am I critiquing to build someone else up?
This matters significantly. It doesn’t take a genius to see flaws. But it does take someone with character, hope, and love to critique in a way that actually makes things better.
That’s a high bar. In reality, we are all mixed bags. Grace upon grace in our Lord Jesus Christ. I just can’t help but wonder what would start to take shape if we aimed our critiques at ourselves the way we aimed them at others and began to critique constructively instead of destructively.
What might we build if our motives were for the good of others instead of against whatever we perceive as bad?
What is a critique for?
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