Romans 14:19 – Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may build up another.
A minister once preached a sermon about Jesus' parable of the three men who were given five, two and one talents of silver to trade with until the master returned. The man with one talent was reprimanded because he buried his talent. After the sermon, a man came to the minister and bemoaned the fact that there was nothing he could really do well at all. Then he brightened up, as he realized his one talent. "Yes," he said, "there is one thing I can do well. I am good at criticism." The minister was hard-pressed to think what to say about such a dubious talent, but he replied slowly, "Well, I would suggest that you should do with that talent what the man with the one talent in the parable did."Yes, most often, our critical comments ought to be buried. Only very rarely does a remark offered in criticism really build up the person it is offered to. Most people are all too aware of their failings and inadequacies, and to have one more weakness pointed out critically is just one more blow to an already very fragile self-image. How many times have you been reduced to tears, or to several hours or days of depression by five seconds of critical comment? Think of that the next time you are tempted to use your talent of criticism. Ask yourself, "What would Jesus say?"
Prayer: O Lord, it is always easier to tear down than to build up, easier to destroy than create. Help us, by Your grace, to take the hard road, and compliment the good, rather than criticize the bad. In Jesus' name. Amen.