“Therefore rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted the Lord is good.” 2 Peter 2:1-2
“Everyone is a critic.” ” If you can’t say anything nice then just don’t say anything at all.” These are a couple of sayings we have all heard at some point in our lifetime. In 1994 there was a popular cartoon called The Critic. The main character was a movie critic. John Lovitz was the voice for the critic. It was somewhat of a parody of the critics who voiced their opinions of the movies on the big screen. Either they loved the movie or they did not recommend the movie. If John Lovitz’s character didn’t like the movie, he simply said; “it stinks!.”
There are times when constructive criticism is essential. Usually we experience constructive criticism within the workplace, within a group and/or organization we are in and I would hope within our family. Constructive criticism should be positive. In other words, we tell the person what needs to be done different in such a way that we are building them up as we point them in a different direction. It doesn’t steal their joy or ruin their day. I have known a few people who really have a the gift of constructive criticism. They do it in such a way that the person they are talking to don’t even realize that they have been pointed in a new direction as they change direction.
In my next few posts, I am going to be sharing about pirates. No, I am not talking about the pirates like we have read about or have seen Johnny Depp portray in the Pirates of the Caribbean. I will be writing about the pirates that are in our every day lives that steal from us.
The pirate of criticism or should I say negativity is one we all allow into our lives. There are some who allow these pirates into their hearts/lives more than others. We all know someone or maybe we are that person that no matter what there is nothing good to say and they see the negative in every situation. They critique Aunt Betty when she shows up at the family reunion, they critique Ms. Higginbotham about the dish she always brings to the cover dish dinner at church. It can even come to the point that a person will critique how someone just walks into the room. They are angry birds!
It seems in media and all other social media/media means there is negativity. Over time I have heard so much negativity among friends, family and in other areas that I actually had a meltdown. It breaks my heart to hear someone put someone down because they do something different from them. It makes me weary that we cannot accept one another for who they are and seek the goodness in their heart. Just because someone does something different from us does not necessarily mean it is wrong. It just means it is different.
The more I have thought about the negativity that goes on the more I realized that this is us allowing Satan to have his way with us and our hearts. You see, Satan wants us to see the negative. It brings him joy to see us tear someone down instead of building someone up. And, in the midst of the tearing down we are missing the blessing we may receive from the person we are criticizing. We are even missing the opportunity to share God’s wonderful grace. Negativity is the pirate that steals the joy we could be experiencing in that moment.
Yes, there are people that we struggle to get along. However, I feel as though God places those people in our lives to see ourselves a little better. They are placed in our lives to teach us patience and to learn a little more about grace. Though they rub us the wrong way and/or march to a different beat than us, we must remember that they are a Child of God just as we are a Child of God. They deserve to be respected just as we want to be respected.
Growing up in a minister’s home there was the occasion where I would experience a negative person. They seem to have really known how I needed to live better than I did. It was hurtful and hard to deal with at times. However, it was in those moments my mom gave me the best advice she could have ever given me. She told me to always be nice. I have carried this advice throughout my adulthood and have passed it on to my son. By just being nice and praying for the person, I have experienced a new kind of grace, joy and forgiveness. Thus, there is no burden to carry as we have when we allow the negativity get the better of us.
The next time you find yourself about to spit something out negative about someone or something, stop, breath, count to ten and find something positive to say instead. Seek the person’s heart you are with and seek the blessing God has for you in that moment. Life is too short to be critical. When it comes to negativity just think of John Lovitz’s character’s statement…”it stinks!’
“But encourage one another daily as long as it is called ‘Today’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:13
May we all be a people who builds up for God’s Kingdom.
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