The seventeenth-century French churchman Fenelon said, “It is often our own imperfection which makes us reprove the imperfection of others; a sharp-sighted self-love of our own which cannot pardon the self-love of others.”
Sometimes our own faults and imperfections make us see faults in others that don’t even exist. A woman complained that her neighbor’s windows were always dirty. One day, after complaining about them to a friend, the visitor encouraged her to wash her own windows. She followed the advice. The next her friend visited, she exclaimed, “I can’t believe it. As soon as I washed my windows, my neighbor must have cleaned hers too. Look at them shine.”
Criticism also blinds us to the good that others accomplish. A man who built a large drinking fountain in a public square drew derogatory comments from an critic about its design. Though somewhat hurt, the builder asked, “Is anyone drinking from it?” The builder was happy that the fountain, even though the critic didn’t like its design was doing its job – and doing it well.
Instead of calling attention to others’ imperfections, we should examine ourselves. What we don’t like in someone else might be the same thing that’s wrong with us. And instead of judging others, we should look for the good in them and love them in spite of their faults. – Richard W. De Haan
When criticizing, don’t forget: God is listening.
- August 2, Vol. 1