Criticism in a love relationship is, of course, given as helpfulness. But do we like to be criticized? Of course not!
That’s because we’ve already been living with the voice of self-criticism. Too much! And what we want from our sweetheart is validation and reassurances that we are okay, that we are truly loveable, and that we are not only loved but liked.
The problem is: No amount of external validation can undo the criticism of our inner voice.
And worse: Negative self-talk clings to proof that it is right. Our sweetheart can spend all day telling us how wonderful we are, but we hear the louder voice of self-criticism, and thus we doubt the truth of our goodness.
This is why Jesus told the woman who had been caught in the sin of adultery: “I do not condemn you. Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). And this is one, big reason why the Church gives us the Sacrament of Confession, so that we can hear the voice of Jesus, through the priest, telling us the same reassurance.
We need to believe that we are forgiven. We need to understand the unconditional, non-condemning, Radical Love of God in order to accept – and retain – the words of validation that come from our sweetheart.
Criticism with condemnation are a deadly combination that destroys lives and never achieves improvement. We can accomplish more by focusing on what is good in ourselves and striving to improve on that. Then, that which is not good melts away in the Radical Love of God.
- What do I condemn myself for?
- What will I do to be healed and hear Jesus tell me, “I do not condemn you. Go and sin no more”?
Strengthen your relationship:
Describe to your sweetheart what you see that is good in him/her. Then serve one another by being the voice of Jesus, saying, “I do not condemn you, because _____.” Finish with a prayer for healing from past times (all the way back to childhood) of feeling judged, condemned, and misunderstood.
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© 2016 by Terry Modica of Good News Ministries