It is wearying to be around a hyper-critical person who cannot find anything to be grateful for. But what if we are that hyper-critical person and don’t even know it? (scary thought that but an honest opinion poll among our dear ones can be very revealing!)
- What is my first reaction when someone helps me? Do I call out how I could have done it better?
- How do I respond to someone being better than me at something? Do I look for something to criticize?
- Is there a recurring pattern in my “jokes” at the expense of someone else? Which is nothing more than thinly veiled criticism?
- What is my response when someone anticipates someone else’s need and meets it? Do I brood about how that person did it just to make me look bad or am I generous in my appreciation towards that person?
- What is my immediate reaction when someone asks me for help? Do I do it but with a lot of moaning and groaning? (I used to specialize in this as a teen, but my mom cured me of it by politely declining my help if I couldn’t do it cheerfully and willingly. And she would go ahead and do that very thing cheerfully. Took a few rounds of this for me to finally get the message!)
- How do I respond when someone goes out of their way to help me in something? Do I nitpick about what they did wrong and lose no opportunity to let others know how much they bungled a minor thing, while not even acknowledging the bigger help I have received?
If we’re honest, we’ve all been here at some point or the other. But we somehow don’t think this is a big deal, because we all have a “hierarchy of sins” set up in our minds. And this attitude scores pretty low on the list. We even justify it to ourselves saying that we can’t help it if our standards are higher than those of others. That we are only trying to improve others through our constant fault-finding, nagging and criticism. Sounds good in theory, except that God doesn’t agree. And He doesn’t have categories of sin set up. Anything that hinders our walk with the Lord is a sin that ‘easily besets us and entangles us’. And we’d do well to get rid of it with His help.
Dear friends let’s take our cue from the Word of God which is full of wisdom for daily living.
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. Philippians 2:12-16
I wouldn’t like to model my life along the lines of the Israelites who wandered in the wilderness through their own stiff-necked disobedience and yet complained, whined and grumbled against God and others (despite seeing God’s faithful provision!). I’d like to be that person who can truly appreciate what God does and who can take help without finding constant fault with those who help.
I have caught myself getting hyper critical towards my kids off late. Most times it is the result being exasperated when they can’t take responsibility for stuff they need to take responsibility for. But being at the receiving end of constant criticism can crush a person’s spirit as surely as betraying their trust dramatically in some way or the other can. If I’m not careful, my constant grumbling will end up hardening their hearts. As any parent can testify – the kids are watching our walk, not our talk.
May the Lord help each of us to walk aright today! Have a blessed day!