Overcoming Destructive Criticism

Perhaps one can seem justified in judging what is obviously an error. While constructive criticism is often helpful, even essential, and while evil in every form must be exposed and denounced, are we ever justified in thinking destructively? Most who do no doubt think they are justified. But Mrs. Eddy tells us, "Hate no one; for hatred is a plague-spot that spreads its virus and kills at last." Miscellaneous Writings, p.12;

Destructive criticism is one of the most subtle sins. People who are otherwise very fine can sometimes be fooled into allowing themselves to indulge in it. But if allowed to go unchecked, it can spoil one's disposition and experience.

When condemning others we're disobeying Jesus' command to love our neighbor. Instead of seeing God's creation—made in His image, spiritual and perfect—we're seeing the mortal counterfeit of that creation and are accepting the counterfeit as the reality. So it is our seeing that needs correcting. And in order to correct it, our thought needs to be spiritualized, to be lifted above a merely physical, finite concept of man.

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February 14, 1976

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