With the Christmas season upon us, there are always lots of gatherings of friends and families with anticipation of good Christmas cheer and celebration, but sometimes when people gather together, it can be sometimes challenging! To help make the most of time spent with loved ones, I want to have us explore the topic of criticism. For some, ugh and ouch may be a first response, or it could be oh, I want to learn and I want to grow and be my best!!! Attitude towards criticism is important to how well we handle it! We all live in the world of people and when there are people, there is interaction and that usually includes sharing hearts and thoughts. That can be healthy or not healthy depending on why criticism is shared and how it is received. There is constructive or fair criticism in life and there is unfair or non-valid criticism and it is important to understand the differences. For example, if someone came up to me and said “Sheila, I know it is the holidays and it is a good time to enjoy lots of special foods and treats, but I am sharing this with you because I love you and I am concerned you are eating too much sugar on a regular basis and when consumed in excess, it can cause weight gain, heart disease, mood swings, contribute to diabetes and more.” Or, if they said, “Sheila, I am thankful for our relationship and I want it to be healthy for both of us. Therefore, I need to tell you that when you tell me ______ or you do ______, it is creating a problem for me. Can you please work on changing that for us? These would be forms of constructive criticism because it will build in me and my relationship with another person good change. It is good not to live with bitterness in relationships. However, if someone came up to me and said “You are worthless” or “you can’t do one thing right!” I would know that it is unfair and not valid criticism. It is exaggerated and it goes against our Father’s Word of Truth spoken over me that tells me I am fearfully and wonderfully made, a beloved child of King Jesus, I am loved unconditionally, seen as holy, without accusation in the eyes of the Lord and God is in me who has began a good work in me and is working in me to will and act according to His good purpose for me. If I breathe, I did something right by the grace of God! Woohoo!!!
It is best not to criticize unless it is needed for good. Constructive criticism (help) is something to be thankful for because it helps us to improve and a wise person welcomes wisdom and takes the correct action to bring about the necessary changes. Hard truths may hurt to face reality, but are needed to bring us to our senses at times and stop us from continuing in wrong and foolish ways. This kind of criticism from a friend or family is well meant and can be trusted. When our best interest is at their heart, their words are genuine expressions of love and friendship! Now how sweet is that! If a person truly loves someone, he/she will not fail to tell their friend or family about a fault or correct them if needed. To not do so would be to hide their love from their friend. However, when correcting someone, the Lord desires that we do so in love and not in hostility and that we also seek to encourage and build each other up in positive ways in lots of ways by saying things like “I love you” and I taste that you are a very talented cook and when due I’m sorry!” It is always good to pray about the words we share if they are necessary and for timing and tact in how to speak them. Our Father promises to help us just as He did Moses when Moses had to speak to the Pharaoh! The Lord reminded Moses that He actually made His mouth and hence, He qualified to put the words in it to make a difference! Oh, now that thought just makes me smile! 🙂 Our Father uses all things in life, so even if we think we have made a mistake, there will be some way that Jesus can use it. We all struggle with words and it is important to extend grace to one another. I will talk more about dealing with non-constructive criticism another writing! Know you are special and you are cherished and loved beyond any words!!! Happy to be doing life with ya forever and trusting Jesus in it all!
“I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”