Critics. We all have them. Some more than others. For some, it seems that no matter what you do, what choice you make, how you speak…someone is always on the fringes, just waiting and looking for a chink in your armor.
It is enough to make a person crack under the pressure. To turn and give up. To throw their hands in the air and walk away. Maybe even lose faith in God. When spoken by those who believe in Him…maybe lose faith in His people.
The pressure to make all the right moves and to be perfect is astounding. The criticism so easily thrown around can weigh so heavy upon a person it keeps them down. Discouraged. We live in a world so consumed by perfection, and so ready to bash anyone that does not fit this ideal. Doesn’t do things in the way we think they should be done. Act the way we think they should. Look. Speak. React in perfect tandem with us.
So we become critics. As God’s people we stand before Him criticizing the imperfections of others.
Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. And be careful that when you get on each other’s nerves you don’t snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out. 1 Thessalonians 5:14-15
Encourage. Love. Counsel. Speak kindly. Offer help. In this we show His love.
Watch what you say. If someone overheard your conversation, would it encourage or tear someone down even more?
When God hears your conversation, is it pleasing to Him?
Would someone listening to your words recognize Christ in you?
Be an encourager. Be the sunshine in someone’s dark days. Be the one who supports and lifts someone up when they have fallen. Be the one who turns away from criticism and works to find solutions. Be the reason someone decides not to give up.
You may the only person in this individuals’s life who is offering life-giving words. These may be the only encouraging words they hear all day.
Say them. Speak them. Live them.
Someone’s spirit may just depend on your chosen words. Your encouragement. Your gentle love.