Sunday, May 20, 2018

How to Receive & Give Critique with Grace

by Andy Lee @WordsByAndyLee

I sat around the table with my critique group sharing our prayer needs concerning our writing. Open, honest, and vulnerable, I told mine. We’re like minded. Women of faith, and kindred spirits who’ve heard the call to write, so it seemed to be a safe place.

But it wasn’t.

As soon as I let my request out, questions and “answers” spilled from well-meaning lips. Have you noticed we often try to fix the problem rather than pray? 

One critique partner’s advice to my prayer request hurt. It might have held some truth, but it was still hard to hear, and something no writer should say to their friend—especially if you haven’t read the book. 

Her advice was based on someone else’s critique, and it felt more like a Mack truck running over me than help. I peeled myself off the proverbial highway and limped home. A little broken. A lot discouraged. 

After I recovered, God gave me the grace to pray, “Use it for your glory, God.” What the enemy meant to use to harm, God can use for good. And He did. Our friendship is even stronger after a long conversation over coffee.

Grace-less Critiques

We give harsh critiques when pride and impatience slither in, and before we know it we’re driving that eighteen-wheeler over somebody. But we don’t want to do that. We don’t want to be the driver nor the pedestrian. So, what do we to help these situations? As writers, this can be a daily occurrence. 

Grace-full Critiques

The two things which can assist our hearts and our lips are humility and the Holy Spirit.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

As Christian authors, we are blessed to have the encouragement of other believing writers cheering us on, yet we are so very human. Critique is difficult to accept, and many times it’s so very hard to give in a constructive way. 

So, remember these three things.

How to Receive Critique with Grace
  • Let Him prepare your heart and mind every day. Spend time with Holy Spirit in the Word. This will be beneficial for the writing you will pen, the critique or reviews you will give, and the critique you receive. 
  • Know beyond knowing you are writing what the Spirit has led you to write. Study. Research. Dig deep. Be ready to receive critique, but also be confident in your content.
  • Hold onto the testimony of those who find your work to be inspiring and life-changing. It might only be one person (though I believe if there’s one, there are others), but if it’s one, it’s worth it. Jesus was willing to leave the ninety-nine to get the one. We should too. 

God did not call me or you to be Beth Moore or Billy Graham or Steven James. He called you and me to be ourselves, to write what He’s told us to write the very best we can. Critique can be tough, but it’s important. Writing can always improve, but encouragement is vital.

Do you.

Write you.

Trust Him.

But please, if someone asks you to pray about something, just pray—no critique or answers. 


Andy Lee is the author of A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called (Leafwood 2016)and The Book of Ruth Key Word Bible Study (AMG 2015).She is a Bible teacher, blogger, event speaker, and mom to three grown children and her kitty named Hank. Andy loves to teach people how to dig deep to live fullyon her website, www.wordsbyandylee.comand her daily Facebook broadcast, Bite of Bread. Follow her on Facebookand watch at 8:20 each morning EST for soul nourishment or watch the teachings on her YouTubechannel.  


  1. Amen!
    Listening is hard, criticizing is so easy.
    Praying together is amazing.
    Lovely expressed, Andy Lee.

  2. Can only add an Amen Ms. Any. Critiques should ALWAYS be meant to help and encourage, not to demonstrate one's superiority (real or not). If you find yourself in a critique group like the latter, find a new critique group. I pray God's blessings for all the encouragement you bring, both here and on your blogs. Thank you for being willing to allow God to use you to bless others ma'am.

    1. Oops! Should have applied Ms. Traci's post from the other day and applied a little better proofreading there. Apologies for the typo Ms. AnDy. God's blessings all the same sweet lady.

  3. i SUCK at giving critique / criticism, even in a positive light! i't learning that done in love, it really isn't tearing another down (or arrogant of me to speak up!) but it's a struggle overcoming old habits!

  4. Very, very nice Andy Lee! Love your advice!👍❤️☺️

  5. So true. A critique doesn't have to call another person's faith into question, or intelligence (etc.). I've read that when we tell our husbands things we don't want them to fix it per se, just to listen. Hmmm