By Chris WittsFriday 6 Dec 2013Morning Devotions with Chris WittsUncategorizedReading Time: 0 minutes
Instead of our words of criticism being revealed through our jealousy of others,we will speak words of life – we will rejoice with people. Romans 12:15 says: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” We won’t take hurtful digs at people anymore. Instead we will,”Rejoice with them.” -Paul says,”Listen,when something good is happening to somebody,you need to get behind them and be excited.” If your friend pulls up in a new car,don’t be digging on the colour. Don’t be looking for something wrong with it. Instead,be like,”Oh,you deserve it. You’ve been saving,you’ve been working hard. I’m so happy for you. Let’s go out for coffee ..” you know,whatever,but be excited. Rejoice with your friends when they rejoice.
And here’s the test. Here’s how you know if you are doing a good job. Ask yourself this question,”Am I truly happy for the good things others experience?” When other people – your spouse,your brothers,your sisters,your friends,people at work – when other people are experiencing good things,are you genuinely,truly happy for them? If not,today is your day to change. Today is your day to let God change that inside of you and allow you to take His scripture,put it into effect,and begin rejoicing and being happy for the good things that happen to others.
Also as we allow God to do His work in and through us,instead of our words of criticism being revealed through negativity,we will speaks words of life – we will be cheerleaders. Philippians 4:8 says: “Whatever is true,whatever is noble,whatever is right,whatever is pure,whatever is lovely,whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” These are the things we are supposed to think about. It’s time to quit being a downer and start being a cheerleader. Start cheering people on. Be excited for them. So,here’s the question. Think about it. Who are you going to cheer on tomorrow? Who are you going to be a cheerleader for? Think about it. Let God show you. Start at home. Start with your kids. Start with your spouse. Then,look at the people you work with every single day. Begin cheering them on,especially people who are going through tough times. Don’t point out all the reasons they’re going through the tough times and don’t try to fix them. Just get behind them and be an inspiration to them. Start looking for the good and pointing it out,speaking it out,speaking life.
And finally,instead of our words of criticism being revealed through our sarcasm,we will speak words of life – words of encouragement. In Ephesians 4:29,Paul says: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,but only what is helpful for the building up of others.” Start encouraging people. Start building people up instead of chipping away at them. If you are married speak words of blessing to your spouse. Encourage your children .. Talk about all of the things that you love about them. Praise them publicly. Praise them privately. Say things like: “You did really well today … You cleaned up your room without being asked. Encourage them with words of life rather than always criticising what they didn’t do right. Choose to speak words of life instead of words of criticism.
As we close,I want you to ask yourself this question: What are my words of criticism costing me? What are they costing me long term – what I don’t even see today? They might cost you a relationship with your kids. If you just keep criticising them,five and ten years down the road,they are going to turn away and they are going to wish they had never known you. They are going to want nothing to do with you ..But you can allow God begin to change you and transform you .. You will have the best relationship if you choose to speak words of life instead of words of criticism
Your words of criticism might also cost you a relationship with your spouse. Right now,they might be ready to walk out the door because everything that comes out of your mouth is just chipping away and tearing away at them,and you can’t get a handle on it,and they’ve had enough. You could be on the verge of losing something incredibly important and incredibly valuable but today is your day to get hold of that and change. Today is the day to allow God to change that in you so that you can have something more incredible,more awesome than you have ever had in your whole life. But we have to choose to speak words of life instead of words of criticism.
We have to decide to let God do His work in our hearts because who knows what we are going to miss if we don’t. But I can tell you,you are going to have something great if you do. God wants to take the jealousy,He wants to take the negativity,He wants to take that sarcasm and He wants to take all these things that reveal our critical spirit and get it out,and He wants to empower us to speak words of life. He wants our words to be fresh and vibrant,words that build people up. Choose to speak words of life instead of words of criticism!
How Did Jesus Handle Criticism?”
How do you like it when people criticise you? The person who said “Sticks and stones can break my bones,but words can never hurt me,” either lived as a hermit,or was an out-an-out liar. Words can hurt. Words do hurt. Words can hurt a lot. Words can hurt a lot more,and do a lot more long-term damage than any puny stick or stone. Studies have shown how lasting an impression,how life-long an impact,words can have on children. Children who receive constant criticism about their looks,or their brains,or their abilities,grow up believing the words thrown at them.
In Luke 9 we read one day when Jesus and his disciples are travelling to Jerusalem. Along the way,they had to pass through Samaria,a part of the country that had both racial and religious animosity. The folks of that town did not welcome Jesus and his disciples,who worshiped in Jerusalem. When James and John hear about this rejection of their Lord,they think that the right way to respond to their critics is to blast them. .. calling fire down from heaven to burn them up ..toast them. And that’s one way to respond to criticism – blast your critic. Blow ’em away! That’s the way of the world. Fight fire with fire. Stand up to those critics. Don’t take it lying down. Fight back. But Jesus rebuked his disciples for thinking this way. Because God’s way,Jesus’ way,is not the way of the world. Jesus came to show us that the Kingdom of God won’t be brought about by the world’s versions of power and might. When rejected by the Samaritans,Jesus refuses to dole out punishment. Instead,he simply moves on. He keeps moving.
I don’t like criticism. But how I receive it depends on who says it,and how they say it. Is it meant to be helpful? Is it meant to be hurtful? Do they have a pattern of always finding fault? Try and find somebody to talk to about what you heard. A true and trusted friend,who you trust .. they will keep you grounded. They will give you a reality check. Sometimes the criticism that we get is deserved,and we need to take it to heart. Your friend may say “yes,there was some truth there ..”Then,we need to think long and hard about the criticism. Because if I’m going to grow as a person,if I’m going to change to become the man of God that God is calling me to be,I need people who will be honest with me. That criticism might hurt at first,but I might need to hear it. It could be the truth.
But you also may have a tendency to be overly hard on yourself,and you could well be your own worst critic. It’s like ..If someone criticises,then I’ll start to “beat myself up” emotionally. And I start this inner dialogue of really negative self-talk. But this is where your friend can help ..and they could say .. “Don’t take it so seriously. I don’t see you that way. Let it go. Shake the dirt off your back,stomp it down,and keep moving.” Then we can stop the negative self-talk,because that is extremely destructive.
Thank goodness in the Bible story James and John checked things out with Jesus first,before calling fire down from Heaven on his critics. He helped them to see a better way to handle it. It is never the Christian way to try and destroy your critic with hatred,or by acting mean. Even if they did it,first. Remember the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians? Love,joy,peace,patience,kindness,goodness,gentleness and self-control? When we’re criticised,if we practice the fruit of the Spirit,we’ll be responding the way Jesus would. Maybe the mature thing to do is to consider the person’s criticism – it may have some truth and valid points,and we should take some notice.