Criticism as a Way of Influence
In my last Spiritual hindrances blog, I wrote about skepticism and the problems it presents for a person of faith. Criticism goes hand in hand with skepticism. Think of it this way. A critic is someone who gives analysis or opinion. Even if it is done in the best of situations, like a teacher who is assessing creative work, it can still feel so disapproving as to shut down someone’s belief in their own thoughts or art. I am mostly writing, however, about the critical spirit in a general way that is used to influence others.
Again, like skepticism, under the human bias, there is no person who can critique you in a way that will not come off somewhat disapproving, even if you are called in to help a person. I have clients all the time who fear I will condemn their behavioral choices or censure their thinking. They do not want to disappoint me. I try very hard to dispense with that fear but it is deeply rooted in most people. We all fear being criticized and have a defensive trigger we pull out when we “feel” under the influence of condemnation. That is actually a good trigger. As a Believer, you have ONE Judge, God. Of course, we have laws and courts for societies to function under and you will be asked to live under those rules.
I am speaking about criticism that becomes so ingrained in you that you either feel the need to take responsibility and feel guilty for everything someone else blames you for OR, you feel the need to defend every little thing someone says that is critical. Pay attention to that inner influence that sways you . Take an inventory of your inner man, the human conditioning in you. Did you have a critical parent or two? Were you expected to be perfect as a child? Was it always your fault if there was trouble? Were you always defended and treated as though you could do no wrong? Were your parents quick to blame others? All of these things influence our critical nature and inner voice.
Getting free from the influence of criticism is challenging and impossible without the help of the Holy Spirit. Only God can allow you to see your self in spirit as He sees you (without flaw as He originally made you) but still able to convict you in a loving and gentle way to rise up to His Best Ways. Only God can do this through the Holy Spirit because only God is the Perfect Divine Parent that loved you so much He saved you from the world’s critical conditions. It is harsh and hard to live here without love. If you depend only on the love of other humans, be careful. There is usually a temptation for those closest to you to project their shame on you. Know God and you will own what is your responsibility to own and you will not let in others’ criticisms! The more you know Him and His Holy Spirit, the clearer your mind gets about where you truly stand—upright before Him!