Note – Whenever I talk about dating/courting on my site, I am writing for women who love Jesus Christ wholeheartedly and want to live under His Lordship. And I am writing for those who date men (if they choose to date/court) who want to live wholeheartedly for Jesus, as well. For a professing Christian, God instructs us that we are to only marry other genuine believers in Christ.
Before we get into the issue of why not to criticize your boyfriend’s/fiance’s family, let’s define criticism.
When I am speaking about criticism in this post, I am talking about:
- having a critical, judgmental, negative, condemning spirit toward others that cannot be pleased.
- insulting other people.
- looking down on others with a sense of spiritual superiority or self-righteousness.
The truth is that…
- When someone criticizes a man’s parents, he often feels an instinctive loyalty to defend them, even if he criticizes them, himself, sometimes.
- When a man’s girlfriend/fiancé/wife criticizes his parents, she (perhaps unknowingly) pits herself against his family – and by extension – against him.
It can be tempting to have a critical spirit against people. However, if I choose to dishonor, disrespect, insult, and/or criticize my man’s parents, I need to understand the price I will pay.
- My man will feel personally dishonored, disrespected, insulted, and criticized if I do these things to his parents, even if I don’t criticize them to anyone but to him. If I criticize or insult his parents to other people, he will feel even more hurt. He will likely feel like I have been disloyal to him, like I have committed a type of betrayal against his family.
- I will create a wall of emotional/spiritual division between my guy and myself.
- I will lose a good bit of his trust.
- I could put a stumbling block in his way to obey the Lord and to honor his father and mother. (Eph. 6:2)
- Even if I just have a critical spirit about his family (or anyone else) in my mind and don’t verbalize my thoughts to anyone else, this mindset will adversely impact my spiritual growth and walk with the Lord and my relationships with my special man and his parents.
- If I complain and have a bad attitude about his family (or anyone else), I will hurt my witness for Jesus Christ.
Instead of focusing on the negative things, perhaps I can focus on something positive? The more I look for good things, the more I will probably find good things about these people who obviously did something right because they raised the man I love. When I practice thanking God for the blessings I see in others, the better my own frame of mind, and the more power I have from God to respond in His Spirit rather than in my sinful flesh. What if God wants to use the things that are so difficult to teach me something valuable and to help me find spiritual treasures?
Perhaps, if I feel there is a trial with my man’s family, I can count that trial as joy (as James 1:2-4 says to do) and invite God to do His miracles in my own thinking and in my own approach. I can then also pray effectively for this family, that God might richly bless them and heal any wounds they may have, as well, inviting God’s kingdom and His glory into the situation.
The Bible has much godly wisdom about criticism.
- A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. Prov. 29:11
- “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matt. 7:1-5
- Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:11-12
- Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Gal. 6:1
- Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. Rom. 14:4
- And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. 2 Tim. 2:24
- Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. Rom. 2:1
- Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; Rom. 14:10
- If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Cor. 13:1
- Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Eph. 4:29
- Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, Phil. 2:14-15
Are there times I need to respectfully share concerns with my guy about his family? Sure. There may be times I need to let him know that there is an important issue going on. But I can do that without condemning, bashing, insulting, criticizing, or disrespecting his parents.
Example of a critical, disrespectful approach:
- Babe, do we have to go to your parents’ house this month? Their house is a total disaster. Between the dust and the dog hair, I can’t stand it! Your mom is a horrible housekeeper. It is torture for me to have to be there for even an hour.
Example of a respectful approach:
- Honey, I know it is so important to you that we spend some time with your parents. I want us to have a great relationship with them. I have noticed my allergies seem to flare up when we go to their house. I wonder if maybe we could meet at a restaurant or a park instead? (But if he still wants to go to their house, I can try to take allergy medicine and make the best of it with a good attitude. Or if my allergies are just too severe, I could respectfully decline being able to go to their house, but be open to going somewhere else together, without insulting his family. I could also pray for God’s wisdom and provision for the situation.)
Please help us to live holy lives in our thoughts, our motives, our words, and our actions. Purify us of all sin. Purify us of negativity, a critical, judgmental spirit. Cleanse us of any self-righteousness and pride. Help us to see everyone with Your eyes and Your love, even those people who are particularly difficult for us to love. Transform our thinking by the power of Your Spirit and Your Word. Help us to approach everyone in ways that bring glory and honor to Your Name.
What Does the Bible Say about Criticism? – by www.gotquestions.org
How Can I Overcome Having a Critical Spirit? – by www.gotquestions.org
What Does the Bible Say about Complaining?– by www.gotquestions.org
What Does the Bible Say about Self-Righteousness?– by www.gotquestions.org