The Gift of Fault Finding // Positively Speaking // Mark Wilson

Some folks have the gift of fault finding. If there’s a flaw, they’ll find it. If there’s a problem, they’ll sniff it out.

This gift isn’t necessarily a curse, but, like a knife, it needs to be handled in the appropriate way.

There are both positive and negative aspects to this ability.

If you have the gift of fault finding, here are a few important things to remember:

1. Make sure you are being constructive. Sometimes, critics get into a negative spirit and they do a lot of damage. They end up lobbing hand grenades, when a fly swatter would have done the job. It is much easier to hear constructive criticism from a friend than the destructive rantings of an enemy.

2. Get on the solution side. Pointing out the problem is only 10% of the job. If you can see the problem, you need to keep digging for a solution. It doesn’t do much good to complain unless you also have a suggestion to make things better.

3. Attack the problem, not the person. People want to be loved and accepted — and a lot of folks have fragile egos. When you are pointing out flaws, people will automatically be defensive. It’s important to understand this and take extra effort to affirm your relationships.

4. Make sure your timing is right. Poorly timed criticisms always backfire. If the timing isn’t right — bite your tongue and wait until the person will be more receptive. (For instance, occasionally, people will bring a problem to me just minutes before I am going to speak on Sunday morning. I used to listen to this and get rattled. It was, then, very difficult to refocus my thoughts. Now, I’ve learned to ask them to meet with me later — or to put their concerns in writing.)

5. Be sure it’s worth it. A lot of stuff ought to be overlooked. As the Bible says, “Love covers a multitude of sins.” If you harp on every minor annoyance, you will be like the boy who cried, “Wolf!” Nobody will pay attention to you when the “Biggie” comes down the pike.

6. Stay pleasant in spirit. If you have a foul spirit in a situation, the first thing you need to do is go away and pray about it until your heart is right. Issues are resolved easier when you’re not bent out of shape. I have never met a person who was argued into the right frame of mind.

7. Look for what’s going right. A while back, I spent an afternoon with a gentleman who bent my ear with a litany of things he thought should be done better at our church. After listening to his complaints for over an hour, I asked, “Is there anything we’re doing right?” That took him back a bit — then he replied, “Of course! We’re doing lots of things right. It’s going 98% right! I love our church — I guess I was just looking for ways to make things even better!” “Now we’re talking!”, I replied. Sometimes, when the situation is difficult, it seems like everything is wrong — when in reality the problem constitutes only 2% and it’s 98% good. Keep looking for the good as you look for ways to make improvements.

8. Discernment is a scalpel, not a switchblade. Since you can see problems emerging before they are obvious, you must share your insight. However, it is important to go into the situation carefully and gently (like a brain surgeon) rather than slashing away like a gang warrior. One final thought: If there are fault finders in your life — think of them as your friends rather than your enemies. They are your Quality Control Department. You can glean some valuable insights by listening to them.

HWC Information

PO Box 507
10655 Nyman Ave
Hayward, WI 54843

ph: (715) 634-4613
fax: (715) 634-7823

HWC Service Times

  • 8:00-8:45 a.m. MorningSong
  • 9:00 and 10:30am Services, nursery available
  • Youth & Children Ministry during the 10:30am service ONLY