Go one day without criticizing

Published 8:14 am Saturday, February 1, 2020

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Toward the end of summer last year, Pink, a musician, issued an online challenge through Instagram, “Go one day without criticizing someone (online).”

I put that online in parenthesis to issue a challenge for all reading this devotion: Go one day without criticizing. Period. Sound easy? Ha!

This means not criticizing what you hear or see on TV, on social media, at work, in the grocery line, that persons’ lack of knowing how to properly drive like you, that outfit you saw them wearing, the way they had their hair, the grammatical errors in the post/text/email/speech, etc. Yeah … doesn’t sound so easy now, huh?

Let’s be honest here. This may mean not going to Walmart, or the grocery store, or work today. Here is another hard part to criticism — it is actually necessary and useful to lead and grow when done correctly.

Winston Churchill said, “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”

The problem with criticism today is how it is not meant to lead or help others grow, but it is meant as a put down and meant to sting.

Lead others well. Help them grow. You don’t fix problems just by telling others how messed up they are or by lashing out on social media without doing anything to improve the person or situation.

Teddy Roosevelt said it best, “Complaining about a problem without proposing a solution is called whining.”

Until we learn to live a life of love and leadership, maybe we ought to keep our criticizing/whining to ourselves. Maybe we need to work on our own lives. Maybe we need to be reminded that we ain’t perfect. Maybe, just maybe, we need to work on leading and loving.

Folks don’t need to just be told what they are doing wrong. People desperately need to be shown the way to live well. Before you utter a word of criticism, figure out a game plan for leading and loving them in the right way. One on one instead of on blast for all to see.

Just as Jesus challenged us in Matthew 18:15 to confront and correct privately, gently, mercifully, so should we lead and love privately, gently, mercifully.

The apostle Paul taught us and the Galatian church in Galatians 6 to confront privately and to gently lead that person back on the right path. If done correctly this is more loving leadership instead of criticizing. So, are you up for the challenge? Do you think you can go one day without any form of criticism? Let’s do this. #bethegood

Rev. J. Cameron Bailey is pastor of Kenbridge Christian Church. He can be reached at jamescameronbailey@gmail. com.