By Chris WittsWednesday 4 Dec 2013Morning Devotions with Chris WittsUncategorizedReading Time: 0 minutes
One morning a mother asked her children if they would like to pray. And promptly her little 3 year old son began,and he said,”Dear Jesus,please help Sissy to stop sucking her thumb. Amen.” And immediately,Sissy began to pray. “And Dear Lord,help my brother to stop reminding me.” Criticism begins at an early age. Have you ever criticised anybody? I think we’ve all been criticised and we have all been criticisers. And youngsters are not immune to criticism.
Winston Churchill said,”Criticism may not be agreeable,but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. Because it calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” So,if you have been criticised,probably it was something that was there to be beneficial to you. And I think each of us come to the place in our lives where we cherish truthful,loving criticism that’s valid. It can enable us to grow.
An ancient story is told of a father and a son who were walking along a road one day with their donkey behind them. And soon they met a man who told them how foolish you guys are to walk when you could be riding the donkey. And so they accepted that and they both got on and rode on their journey. Soon they hadn’t gone very far when another man criticised them for both riding the donkey. They were too heavy and so the boy got off,and walked,and the father rode the donkey.
And it wasn’t long before the third traveller came along and said,”You know. This doesn’t make any sense… you’re so inconsiderate because you have made your poor son walk.” And so they switched places,and the boy rode and the father walked.
And soon they met a fourth person who said,”You know,the son is not being thoughtful of the father. You should respect your elderly parents,and you should be the one that’s walking.” And so,the last time they were seen,the father and the son were both carrying the donkey themselves
I don’t know if you have ever done this,but have you ever said something that when it rolled out of your mouth,you were like,”Oh,if I could just get that back and stick it right back in there.” Have you ever been there? You know what I’m talking about? Unfortunately,the words we use don’t always have the effect we want. Sometimes words meant to spur people on toward action,fall on deaf ears and immobilise people. Sometimes the words we use to try and encourage are interpreted as patronising or condescending. Sometimes we don’t know what words to use,and we choose ones that end up doing more harm than good. And,these are mistakes that all of us make – because we’re human. We’re not perfect. Even with the best of intentions,we will still misstep in our choices of words from time to time. And even our best friends get hurt because of our criticism.
I’m talking about the hurtful words that come out of our mouths.. for example in a ft of rage we say things like,”I wish you were never born. You’re so lazy. You’re such a loser .. I want a divorce. I hate you. I can’t stand this marriage anymore. Why’d you do that? I mean,you’re so stupid. What were you thinking?” This is really important. It is important that we understand this – people who constantly criticise others often do not realise the damage they are doing. And that’s where we have to be very careful.
Let’s look at some ways that criticism reveals itself in our lives. The first way it reveals itself is through jealousy. This is what the writer of Proverbs has to say about jealousy in Proverbs 14:30. He says this,”A heart at peace gives life to the body,but envy rots the bones.” I want you to imagine,just picture the inside of your body if it was to be rotting away,and that is what the writer is trying to tell us. Envy and jealousy rot away at the inside of us. It rots away at our spirit and our soul. It turns us into bitter,and negative,and critical people. I hope you’re not like that..
It can start in a small way …say you’ve got a friend who has an old,dilapidated car that’s really junk ..he desperately needs a new car And one day,this friend calls you and says,”Hey,I’m so excited. I’ve been saving. I’ve been working hard,and I got a new car. I can’t wait to show it to you. I’m going to bring it right over.” So your friend pulls into your driveway in their new car. And when you see it you are blown away because they now have a very nice car,as a matter of fact,now they are driving a car that is nicer than yours and you are beginning to feel a little jealous. But,you have to be the great friend,so you walk outside and you say,”Great car. Awesome. Incredible. Wouldn’t have picked that colour though but yeah that’s a good car.” Did you catch the subtle or not so subtle criticism? Just a little dig comes out in your comment because you are jealous and you can’t be happy for your friend. Now,all of a sudden,instead of your friend feeling good about their new car they are looking at that colour going,”Hmmmmmmmmm.” Sometimes criticism can reveal itself through jealously.