“A hopeful person can never be critical!”
The above quote is the view many people have when they think of someone who is hopeful or optimistic. In truth, it’s an inaccurate view because we all critique things from time-to-time. Also, there is a difference between being critical and giving a critique. Here’s one example to show the difference.
“Some of the pastoral visits I see in the hospital break my heart…Clinical ministry is significantly different from congregational ministry and you must be prepared. For example, why wear gloves but not a gown in a contact precaution room? By not complying you are putting yourself, your member, and the entire community at risk! Beating someone up because there is “too much sin” in a person’s life is not particularly helpful either! If you want to be trained, I offer a 12-hour course that’s coming up that will introduce you to the basics!”
This example is from Chaplain Scott Fleming who began with a criticism, yet ended his comments with a hopeful critique. See, Scott begun by being critical to state a problem. Then he offered a viable solution. As a result, his solution became the hope for the problem. In other words, he did not leave his criticism unresolved because he knew the only way to return to hope is to provide a viable alternative.
This is the difference between a critique and a criticism. A criticism alone tears down and rushes to judgment. However, a critique gives a brief criticism to graciously offer a hope to fix the negative situation. Being gracious is a key point. Not only does it help one to be better heard, but also by being gracious the critic is looking to be hopeful than judgmental. They are seeking to redirect life’s flaws towards a better hope than to retain the flaws they see.
So, “a hopeful person can never be critical?” No, because even the most optimistic people offer critiques from negative circumstances they’ve experienced. Simply then it’s possible for a hopeful person to criticize so they can critique because they want to improve the world around them than passively leaving things are they are. They know a more hopeful world is only possible by directly confronting issues to build a true long-term hopeful solution.
How are you choosing to embrace hope? Are you critical? What solutions do you offer when you criticize? If so, then what steps can you take to redirect towards hope?
Also, if you would like to obtain the additional pastoral training Scott mentioned above then please tweet him @ScottAFleming. He would be more than happy to assist you.