The old maxim is that you are what you eat. So what happens when you feed someone a steady diet of criticism?
Studies have shown that children who receive criticism on a daily basis from those who are important to them lose their motivation to try new things. They become discouraged and defeated.
Likewise parents who focus on the good things their children do, encourage them to work harder to do the things that please their parents. They develop higher self esteem and aren't afraid to try new things.
Couples who practice mutual respect and develop a complimentary attitude toward each other have stronger marriages. No, it's not always easy - it does take work, but it is worth it.
Sure there are times when we need to offer criticisms because of sin or problems in someone's life, but there are ways to phrase those criticisms constructively so that they become motivators instead of destroyers.
So, I wonder what our churches would look like if we worked harder at giving thanks for those we rub shoulders with instead of complaining and criticising them?
Here's a few suggestions to try this week:
- Find a young person and speak to them. Ask them about school and offer to pray for them for an upcoming test or project. Youth and adults are a lot like oil and vinegar - they don't mix until shaken together.
- Ask a single mom what she needs and offer to help or pray for her needs rather than complaining about her noisy children in church.
- Pray for someone who is ill, make a card or visit them. Listen to their health-related complaints and offer smiles and encouragement.