Last Wednesday part one of a two-part post on “How to Deal with Critics” was posted. The first post’s theme was that one should not consider the advice of critics if they do not have the authority to criticize someone. Critics who criticize without just cause or authority were called deconstructive cynics. Romans 3:13 describes these type of cynics as,
“Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with lies.” “Snake venom drips from their lips.”
In contrast it was suggested that people should only listen to a constructive critic because usually this is an individual who has earned the credibility to offer advice into one’s life. Think about Nathan and King David’s relationship. In II Samuel 12 Nathan was able to confront David about his sin with Bathsheba because he had previously invested into David’s life. Therefore, a constructive critic cares because as a friend they communicate more than just criticism, but encouragement too.
This post will conclude by listing two more red flags to identify deconstructive cynics from a constructive critic.
1. Look For Solutions than Lone Criticism.
One of the easiest ways to identify a deconstructive cynic is to notice that they never offer a specific solution to their critique. Usually their aim is to generically criticize others. They may believe it is their job to police the world, or they criticize to make themselves feel better, or they simply know what is wrong, but not what is right. Ignore these deconstructive cynics because even if they are right, their criticism and advice will not rebuild someone into a better person. In fact, their lack of solutions may indicate their immaturity. So do not consider the advice of someone who is no better off, but cherish the advice of those who are successful.
2. Look for Ownership than Anonymity.
Deconstructive cynics can be cowards. Leaders who have to make difficult decisions experience this a lot. For example, leaders will get a critical letter from someone, but the letter will not be signed. Another means of anonymity occurs when deconstructive cynics use other people to speak their advice because they lack the courage to speak criticism.
(For the record sometimes the person speaking this criticism is the actual cynic. So be alert, they may be shielding themselves by pretending it is another.)
This form of anonymity is cowardice and there is no real love or care for the organization or the person. As point number one stated, these deconstructive cynics are more concerned with criticism than working towards a solution. So anonymous criticism should treated like anonymous letters. They should be thrown away without considering the value of the advice given.
Strive towards having constructive critics in your life because they are your friends and they have your best interest at heart. As Proverbs 15:31 says,
“If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise.”
A good counselor will contend that their office is a “safe place” where one can be honest so a person can grow. Similarly, constructive critics are called “constructive” because they seek to build you up than tear you down. These type of friends want to build you into a better person while they enjoy your company. So the next time you hear criticism from someone ask yourself; Does it feel more like home or more like torture? The answer should determine the value of the advice given and if you hearing the voice of a friend.