Constructive criticism seeks to address differences in a relationship without attacking the other person and while keeping an open mind that you in fact may be the party at fault.
Constructive criticism begins by addressing your feelings. You ever heard the statement “It’s not about what you say to a girl, it’s about how she feels about what you say”? This is somewhat true about all of us.
So if your loved one offends you or does something you don’t agree with, perhaps the healthy thing to do would be talk about how it made you feel.
Then open up and admit that you really don’t know all the details and perhaps you could have seen things differently than they really were. Or perhaps you saw things exactly how they really are but you just have a different perspective. Show that you appreciate, respect, and value their perspective.
I think as Christians we get this notion that the most loving thing to do is to tell our loved one that they are wrong and that their actions are sin. However, if we really love them we should seek change in the manner which is most effective, not the most blunt or absolutely.
I want to say this too. That often when we judge people and realize we are being hypocritical we feel bad. We feel the guilt of not practicing what we preach. I certainly do. But we still judge for some reason. Perhaps because I think that Christianity has pressed judging the actions and motives and beliefs of others so deeply into our thought processes.
I noticed this with the recent Chic Fil A drama. A lot of Christian’s first response is to start judging those who are so offended by the CEO’s stance on homosexuality. However, they fail to realize their view is just as offensive to someone on the other side. Who, by the way, is probably just as convinced in his heart that he is completely right about his opinion as you are convinced about yours.
Its a fine line. I think we swing to far on the judgement side but we don’t want to let go of what we feel is right. Balance is key. If you must ere, do it on the side of grace.