“Gentleness takes strength. Are you strong enough?”
Replace a Critical Attitude with Gentleness
Why can’t you be more like your brother?
Can’t you dress any better than that?
You drive me crazy when you do that!
Criticism hurts, doesn’t it.
Why do we criticize others so much? Is it possible that focusing on another person’s faults (whether real or perceived) is simply easier than shining the light on our own lives?
We all make mistakes. No matter how hard you try, you will make mistakes. Of course, it is important to learn from those mistakes, and to take steps to avoid those same mistakes in the future. Mistakes, handled correctly, can help us grow.
But what if it is someone else’s mistake? Do you allow people around you to be less than perfect? Do you accept their faults, just as you accept your own faults?
Accepting other people does not mean you let everyone do whatever they want to you. It doesn’t mean you “keep the peace” at all costs. It certainly doesn’t mean you turn away from what you know to be true and right.
But it DOES mean that you choose to accept less than perfection. It DOES mean that you treat others with gentleness. And it DOES mean that you judge yourself before judging someone else.
There is a saying that talks about removing the plank from your eye before trying to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Picture that visual! You’re staggering around with a 3-foot long piece of wood coming out of your eye. Pretty gruesome isn’t it. And then imagine that you are walking over to your friend, telling him how he needs to get that tiny little speck out of his eye, because it is messing up his life! First of all, he is probably dodging back and forth to avoid the tree branch you’re swinging around. What’s more, he’s thinking you’re crazy telling him to get a speck out of his eye, when you are walking around with enough wood to start a bonfire.
Here’s the point: When you feel the urge to criticize someone for not measuring up to YOUR standards… first take some time and examine yourself. Deal first with what needs to change in your heart, and then go to your friend with gentleness and a desire to help, not hurt. Use your words to build up those around you, not tear them down.
Gentleness takes strength. Are you strong enough?