Is only justified if it is like the art of gardening

February 15th 2016
Why this tendency to point out the faults of others? Why harass men and women who are struggling in the midst of so many difficulties? The strangest thing is that in criticizing others, people think they are proving their own insightfulness, wisdom and even love. They talk about ‘tough love’ or ‘save the rod and spoil the child’, and say that punishment necessarily follows criticism, that someone should only be punished when they are seen to have done wrong. No, in most cases, love does not involve criticising, and nor does wisdom either. To love others is to understand their difficulties and act sensitively to alleviate their suffering. For criticism tends instead to chafe, scratch, and wound. It is often not love but carnage. True love is not stained with blood; it is great and luminous. Through it you connect to God, and God advises you on the best ways to deal with others. What is good criticism? It is like the work of a good gardener who knows how to cut the trees, prune them, straighten them and rid them of caterpillars and harmful insects. A good gardener preserves what is good, and soon after magnificent flowers and fruit appear.