Shalom. Remember that every word we utter bears witness to who we are.
Words are powerful and can be used for great good, great evil or anything in between. I’ve had things said to me over the years that have been painful but life giving and others that are just painful. Honestly I think that what counts is the motivation behind them as much as the words themselves.
When people I know, love and trust say harsh but honest things they generally also say how it could be better, they encourage me. However I have had others say things they believe are honest and harsh but no encouragement. At those times I think if there is anything good I can take away and ignore the rest.
Much of this comes down to the difference between conviction and condemnation.
The Holy Spirit is into conviction… he’ll tell you what’s wrong… he will probably tell you there’s not a lot you can do by yourself but then he’ll remind you that …. God loves you just the way you are. But He refuses to leave you that way, He wants you to be just like Jesus… then he’ll help you change.
Satan’s into condemnation… he’ll tell you what’s wrong… he will probably tell you there’s not a lot you can do by yourself and he’ll remind you that you’re worthless, always making mistakes and no good at what you’re doing… he won’t try to encourage… he’ll just leave you feeling bad about the situation and yourself.
Truth is… this is also what we can say to ourselves… it’s one reason Paul tells us to be ‘transformed by the renewing of your mind…’
It’s not easy but we can change that internal voice inside… we might need help from others… in fact it’s most likely we will… and then we can learn to filter the condemnation of others and ask God to shape it to conviction.
Then, if there’s no encouragement we can glean (aka… constructive criticism) then we discard it.
Some people are simply mean and hate seeing others better themselves. Sometimes we get swept up in the crowd and pick on others… (feeling for some British tourists even if they’re slightly culpable)
Sometimes we have bad hair days and get nasty when we normally aren’t.
Whatever the reason, it seems our motivation doesn’t reflect that great commandment… love God, love others, love ourselves.
I’ve found most criticism has validity, but often it’s only valid to the one giving it as they often try to tell us we should be just like them…
Don’t try to be… remember God loves you… be just like Jesus.
Have an awesome week.