Words of Hope: The Sin of Criticism
Last December, Dad and I read sections of “The Violence Within” by Paul Tournier aloud to each other. Tournier believed that criticism was a form of violence that burdened the relationship. According to Tournier, criticism removes unconditional love and places the relationship into a top-down, judgmental relationship. For Tournier, the criticizer assumes the role of God.
Dad and I had many long conversations discussing this theory as it was a new concept for us and not one we practiced much during our life. Both of us love to coach, admonish, and correct, which can lead to the darker elements of assumption, criticism, and contempt. Dad had been moving out of this tendency for a while, and he listened earnestly to these ideas. Part of the discussion was about Eve. We talked about Eve’s original sin—wanting to be like God. How do I want to be like God?
Dad and I talked long into the evening about ways we saw ourselves following the sin of criticism. Who is the one who condemns? Romans gives us this answer—the role of judge, avenger, is reserved for God alone. Dad and I made a goal together to be more generous and compassionate, especially toward our family. We made goals to stay in humility of thought and word by honoring God as judge. I am thankful my Dad was still willing and eager to change for the sake and love of his family.
“Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus is He who died–who was raised to life and is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” – Romans 8:34