Why is it so easy to be critical?
It comes so naturally most days. But I know it isn’t beneficial or appreciated. I also know it doesn’t help a bad situation get better. If a person is constantly told they are failing, they will likely live up to that. It’s hard to blossom under harsh criticism. It’s easy to give up when nothing you do is good enough.
You never spend time with me.
You are always complaining.
You just don’t support my needs.
You don’t spend enough time with the kids.
You are terrible at finances.
You have no idea how to communicate.
You are boring.
Try harder, do more, be better, fix yourself.
What if we encouraged more and complained less?
I mean, what kid has ever said, “I can’t wait to grow up and be micromanaged by my spouse.”
I, for one, don’t want to make excuses for myself anymore. I know I have to tame my tongue. I want to be more tender and caring and thoughtful, even though my cynical heart rails against me. I have really tried to be aware of my words these past few weeks. I have failed, that is for certain, but I have tried, and have asked God for the strength to change. Here are much happier things to hear from our loved ones:
Thank you for helping me so much.
You have a knack for organization.
I love that you want to hang out with our kids.
You have come so far and I see God working in your life.
You grow better with age.
I am blessed to have you in my life.
You are so considerate.
I see you are really trying and it means so much.
You catch more bees with honey. And that is scriptural.
“Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” —Proverbs 16:24
Has anyone ever complimented you and you thought about it for days? Or has an insult ever hurt you for weeks on end? Words matter. They build up and they tear down. They heal and they destroy. The bible is packed with verses that talk about the power of the tongue. Read Proverbs each day, and see if you aren’t inspired to speak more sweetly.
We shouldn’t try to be nicer so we can check off some box. We should be nice because that is what others need. Because God is so kind to us. Because life is tough and a soft word can lessen painful situations, and build closeness.
I am harsh more than I care to admit.
I am often tempted to “speak my mind.” But I don’t want to stay this way. I want God to refine this part of me. Not everything I feel is right or true, so I am trying be slower to speak.
It’s almost painful at times to hold my tongue, but I have seen it make a difference in my friendships and my marriage. I have said destructive things that have hurt others, and I am trying to temper that. Not only that, it’s also a good rule to assume that people are doing their best, and have lots of struggles just like I do. It is good to be patient and understanding. It’s good to love well. What is love again?
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” —1 Corinthians 13 1-8
My husband stopped to read this out loud the other day. I can’t recall who was being harsh, but it snapped us to attention. It’s true, and it’s the safest way to interact with each other. There is less room to regret mean words if we keep this verse at the forefront of our minds.