Compliments and Criticisms
Whenever we receive a compliment from someone we know well, a spouse, our children, or siblings, we have a tendency to dismiss it. After giving a compliment to a loved one, they replied, “Oh, you are obligated. You have to say that,” when actually I’m not, and I don’t! However, when we receive a criticism from a spouse, our children, or siblings, it seems to cut like a knife. Those words are taken seriously. Conversely, when a complete stranger gives us a compliment, it has a much larger impression on us because we don’t know them well at all, whereas criticism from a stranger has little weight or impact. We can dismiss it, saying, “What do they know. They don’t know me or understand!”
They say sticks and stones may break my bones, but words don’t hurt. This is further from the truth. I have been on both ends of broken bones and hurtful words. My broken bone has healed but still visible, but no pain anymore. But words they pierce and come back and haunt me. As I grew in my faith, the bible was both a place of criticism and blessings. I noticed that when it was critical, it was meant for me to change and transform. It wasn’t an easy process but was given for my benefit, which produced peaceful results. The way of the wicked is hard. Thank the Lord, He taught me to repent and change my ways. His ways are higher than my ways, and His thoughts are higher than mine.
Proverbs 27 has powerfully revealing instruction on this exact situation in the 6th verse,
Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.
“Faithful are the words of a friend.” That is all we need, are the words of a friend. We all have friends we love, we encourage, and we want them to succeed in their walk with our friend Christ Jesus, who gives us instruction.
As iron sharpens iron,
So one person sharpens another.
We sharpen each other. Through earnest and heartfelt love for one another, we sincerely want those we love to demonstrate that kind of love outward toward others as well.
Verse 18 and 19 say,
One who tends the fig tree will eat its fruit,
And one who cares for his master will be honored.
As in water a face reflects the face,
So the heart of a person reflects the person.
How do you care for the people in your life? What is the fruit of that effort? How do you prioritize God? Do you care for Him, honor Him, and obey Him?
Lastly, we are a reflection of our heart. What is in us is what will come from us. Do our loved ones see the vile jealousy of our covetousness, from years of disappointment? Or do they see the love of God in our hearts? The love of Christ Jesus directed to them when they may feel they least deserve it. Whatever we do, we must be sincere, honest, and loving to all those around us. It makes them better children of God while purifying us to be more like Him. 🙏
“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
For additional details or to understand how to utilize compliments and criticism to maximize potential and transform for a balanced, happier and fulfilled life, please email firstname.lastname@example.org