Sunday, April 21, 2013

Let's build others up - not tear them down

 As the snow once again is falling heavily outside (and looking very beautiful by the way) I had fun looking through some scenery photos that I had in my files. I thought it would be fun to share some Spring like  pictures. Spring will come soon, meanwhile we will enjoy the snow and the pictures of Spring from other years! :-)

   There is a topic that has been going around in my mind some lately, I am quite sure I have written on it before but since it is in my thoughts and it is something I am working on I thought I would share some verses about it and write on it again. Hopefully you will find these thoughts encouraging.
   In my life at times I have noticed something that I don't like and that is a tendency to be critical of others. Now that wasn't something I would often say out loud to them (though I probably have more than I should with my children and maybe some others that I am close to) but I would think them, and I feel terrible saying this, but I know from time to time I would say that critical thought to others about someone too.

   Thinking about that really makes me feel kind of nasty because really how would I like to have others criticizing me behind my back? I wouldn't. Besides how does that really help anybody? Anyway... just being open and honest with you all, I am admitting that I have often been critical of others and I really don't want to be that way anymore.

It reminds me of this verse:

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Matthew 7:1-5

   Why are we so often critical of others when we have problems ourselves?  I think criticism (both in giving it and also not wanting to take it - which I also struggle with) come from a pride problem, lets make them look bad and me look good. Pride is the root of so many problems and someday I really hope to be totally rid of it!!! When we think about the fact that we are all sinners in need of grace, none of us perfect, none of us who have it all together then it is easier not be so critical of others.

I have also found this verse helpful:
"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony." Colossians 3:12-14

 Do you notice the mention of putting on humility????
 A habit that I have had fun working on forming is that when I find myself thinking a critical thought and would try to quickly get rid of that and start thinking about positive things instead.

For instance when I am out driving around I would (I hate to say this) find myself thinking things like "Oh that yard is a huge mess", "Oh that person looks grumpy", "Wow, it amazing what horrible combinations people will wear together" - I am actually having trouble remembering exact thoughts but I did catch myself being critical about houses I would pass, people whom I didn't know at all but I saw some flaw in them even from that distance. I have no idea why I started doing that - perhaps it is because I do think fixing things up is fun and I could look at a yard and think "oh, I could organize all that junk, plant some flowers, paint the door and things would look so much better" or maybe I was simply in a critical funk.

 But after a bit I started thinking about what I was doing and it really bothered me - How in the world was that helping anybody? I was simply putting myself in a critical frame of mind.

  So I have had fun changing that around and now when I am out driving or perhaps people watching at some place or another I have fun thinking positive thoughts about others. Instead of noticing that bad or the ugly I try to find the beauty in the situation. Things like noticing someone wearing a beautiful scarf, noticing a pretty house color (even if the yard is a mess), noticing a beautiful smile, you get the idea. That game by the way is much more fun and leaves me in a much better frame of mind! :-)

  Something we have done with our children when they something that isn't nice to one another is to have them then say three nice things about their sibling. I think this would be a good activity for me too. I think sometimes we need to work to train our minds to think good things rather than being critical.
The verse below shares the message that I hope and pray will one day be the only story of my life - that the critical spirit in me will be completely gone!

"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11

I hope that for you as well!

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