Build Up One Another (revised)
Criticism in Love
Romans 14:19 (NASB)
So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.
Romans 14:19 (KJV)
Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
Unfortunately... there are moments in our lives where some form of conflict will present itself. When it happens, and I do mean when, how we handle it could be the starting point of the Domino Effect. Conflict almost always involves some form of criticism. Our use of it is sometimes fueled by the heat of the moment... tempered with emotion and anger. Hostility is met, head on, with more hostility. This has serious implication as to the course and eventual outcome of the conflict itself. Proper use of criticism can mean the difference between a minor disagreement, tactfully defused... or an all out bloody war. History is all to full of detailed examples. Stop for a minute and consider the moment in question. The very instant that we become aware that conflict has arrived... the point where we become critical. That's' the time when action... sound calculated action, and well thought out action... is very necessary. That moment, that particular point in time presents a platform from which we can build... or fall further into the abyss. This discussion will focus on that platform and the necessary measures that can keep the situation from ending... very badly.
Edification – The Building Up Of Another...
- To improve spiritually or morally by instruction or by example.
- The act of edifying, or the state of being edified; to go about building up, especially in a moral or spiritual sense; moral, intellectual, or spiritual improvement; instruction.
- Those functions or acts which educate, inform, illuminate, or instruct; the thing that enlightens or uplifts.
When we think of the act of criticism, usually it carries the idea of taking something apart or tearing it down. it's easy to see how it find it's way to the place where conflict is stirring. In any case, the connotation is negative. No doubt the reason why the word constructive is added to emphasize it's reversal. Thus, we apply the phrase "constructive criticism", when used in the opposite manner. The point being, criticism, can be used both to destroy as well as to build. Care must be taken with it's application and intent. Dependent upon it's use, the doorway of peace can be opened... or forever shut. What's needed is an informed and dedicated adherence to peace itself. Once that choice has been made, it has a chance at being maintained. Even in the face of conflict. Due diligence is required. There will be work involved, sometimes very difficult work.
Peace and Building
The edifying or building up of another is a direct function in the pursuit of establishing peace.
- Just as builders work to establish a structure that is lasting; peace in a relationship is vital towards its longevity. Edification is the action that builds up, as well as establishes a strong relationship.
- When looking to lend a hand in the building of another’s character, we must place our effort on the things that help establish and strengthen a person such as encouragement and the enforcement of their self-esteem.
- Any action that lends negative criticism, presents possible divisions, or contributes to the potential introduction of friction should be avoided. Keep in mind the inclusion of peace as a key part of the process.
- Two words are associated with the practice of building. The words in question are these... construction and destruction. In the application of criticism, which is unavoidable, it is better to be constructive in the edification of another.
Giving Constructive Criticism
As members of "The Church", and part of "God's Household", we are charged with the building of "His Kingdom." Understand that His is not a place of hostility and confusion. Our God, His Kingdom, and especially His Household is comprised of a very unique material. That material, the very thing that we use when building anything... is love itself. It makes for a great building material and the finished product is more than a sight to behold. Love is the one thing that we can attach to all things. It can be not only made to stick, but expected to have a lasting endurence. I urge each and every one of us to use love in all that we put to our hands.
Ministering As A Loving Neighbor
Romans 14:13 (NIV)
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.
- Remember to evaluate your approach and measure your course of action. Some actions are better left out even when they aren’t necessarily wrong in themselves.
- Keep in mind that your goal is to build the person up in a loving and peaceful manner; not tear them down or create more problems.
- Focus on that which points toward the positive. Make sure the person understands that they are valued and important.
- After discussing the problem areas or behavior… build them up again. This time focus on solutions emphasizing those things that lead to improvement.
Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Hopefully, at the conclusion the person should understand the problem with some idea as to what can be done about it. At the very least... when handled right, they will understand that whatever the problem is... they have help in facing it. Never end the discussion allowing them to feel worthless, torn apart, or having no path towards a resolution. Just as our hope is in Christ and the kingdom to come, we should hope to assist others in the strengthening of their spirit and the development of a Godly behavior. With a little care and compassion, loving your neighbor can still be accomplished… even in these awkward and difficult situations.