Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. (NLT)
It has been said that no one ever built a statue to a critic. Criticism has a bad name, and usually with some reason. Some people think their vocation in life is to acquaint others with all their faults. This has a few problems.
One is that we don’t ever really know what is behind those faults and who is to say they are truly faults in any case. Another problem is that if we do uncover real failures and shortcomings, the person may fall to pieces and few if any critics have the skill or will to put the pieces back together again.
And finally, as Jesus points out, we may be critical of others and so blind ourselves to our own faults. It is sadly common for us to overlook our own failings and find just those failings in others. And so the log in our eye is ignored and makes it hard for us to take the speck out of another’s eye.
Best to follow Paul’s guidance here. We are to seek to help others get back on track. It is sentimental nonsense to conclude we can only say “nice” things about one another. But only those seeking to be godly have the right to criticise another believer’s sins. Only those aware of their own failings can take on that weighty responsibility.
Godly and constructive criticism can help others bear their burdens. The other sort of criticism is just a burden in itself.