Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Bridling my tongue

I have been trying stop criticizing people. Not only verbally but in my thoughts. I want to practice a love that sees the person beyond the mistakes. There were words to express what I've been feeling about the situation and was came up with nothing. Then, Keith Brenton over at Blog in myOwn Eye gave me the words. I'm going to post the entire thing here because the importance of the words is especially pressing on me. So read this, but also take time and head to his blog and see some of his other posts. It is worth the trip.

Anyone Can Criticize

It's true.

Any idiot like me can have a free blog. Any doofus with two lips and a voicebox who can form words, can form them into criticism of others.

You don't have to be smart, credentialed, unbiased, logical or even a critical thinker in order to be able to criticize.

You don't have to be willing to spend hours in research, or to write or create or dream or do. You don't have to take the time and engage another person's soul in the fine art of friendly persuasion.

All you have to do is know what you like, and what you don't.

You don't have to have a reason for it.

And if you have one, it doesn't have to make sense to anyone but you.

If that.

I don't even know quite what has suddenly prompted this moment of outrage in my soul - maybe it's cumulative - because nothing has really happened in my life of late to nudge it on.

If anything, it's probably a sudden realization that I spend too much of myself in criticism.

It costs nothing. Requires nothing. Generally yields nothing.

And, yes, I'm even talking about constructive criticism. Not just the so-called kind that sugar-coats pure bile; I mean even the best-hearted, best-intentioned kind of criticism.

What does criticism add to anything? At the same time, what can it destroy?

As a general rule, the characters in the Bible, in literature, and in life whom I've encountered spending a lot of themselves in criticism are not my heroes. They aren't happy people. And they don't add to the joy of others.

As a general rule.

I don't want to be one of those people.

Criticism is judgment expressed, and it can be helpful or harmful or neither, depending on the recipient(s). But because it is expressed, it's relational - and has power. Criticism is the nitroglycerin of relationships. It can heal hearts. It can explode them.

It is best used in very small quantities by people who are keenly conscious of what they are doing.

I beg your forgiveness if I have been uncritically critical, whether harsh in disapproval or lavish in praise or shruggish in my indifference.

What you create in your life before God and others is among you and Him and them.

It's not that I don't appreciate criticism - especially the thoughtful, caring kind. It's that I don't want to need it. I don't want to feel so compelled to give it.

And I sure-as-judgment don't want to abuse it.

1 comment:

One Sided said...

You know that whole "Walk a mile in the other person's shoes" thing?

Well. . . . I noticed that some people did not take into consideration the uncontrolable influences in my life and their direct negative effect on my actions. A flat tire makes me late, the alarm did not go off, I got so busy I lost track of time, you know what I mean. And I thought "How rude an inconsiderate!"
Then . . . . I caught myself wondering why Joel could not have just alloted a few extra minutes to allow for traffic, or why Jim never seems to have gas money when it is his turn to drive, and it drove me nuts that Cory never calls when he says he will.
And God said to me . . . . "Why should they treat you with any more consideration than you show them?"
To which I replied, "Well at least I try."
So God let me keep the grandkids, and I rediscovered just how long it can take to ge a bunck of little people dressed, fed and out the door (on time). And grandkids are expensive! Not only did we run through my fun money, but the grocery money and gas money! Little did I realize that it would not dawn on the girls to tell me, "Hey Papa there is a message on the phone for you."

I can't wait to see what lesson God has in store for me the next time the kids come to visit.