Criticism and Self Examination

“Be advised to consider what others say of you and improve it to this end, to know whether you do not live in some way of sin…And though the imputation may seem to us to be very groundless and we think that they, in charging us so, are influenced by no good spirit; yet if we act prudently, we shall take so much notice of it as to make an occassion of examining ourselves … it is most imprudent as well as most unchristian, to take it amiss, and resent it, when we are thus told of our faults: we should rather rejoice in it, that we are shown our spots … we should improve what our enemies say of us. If they from an ill spirit reproach and revile us to our faces, we should consider it, so far as to reflect inward upon ourselves and inquire whether it not be so, as they charge us … they are likely to fix on real faults, they are likely to fall upon us where we are weakest and most defective.”

– Jonathan Edwards, The Necessity of Self Examination.

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One thought on “Criticism and Self Examination

  1. Interesting that Edwards does not dismiss criticism just on the grounds of being unfair or incorrect. Instead he suggests that it can be used redemptively for self-examination.

    Question is: ‘what is a healthy way of examining ourselves’. There is always the danger of self-centred introspection, wrong type of guilt or even superficiality…

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