For All My Fellow Critics
I’m naturally a critical person.
I hate admitting that, but it’s true. If I don’t make an active effort to view things in a positive light, I will probably find something negative to say. It’s a daily struggle for me to squash down that critical spirit, but, by God’s grace, I’m learning to be kinder.
During this time of quarantine, I’ve noticed (perhaps hypocritically) that other people struggle with the same problem. Maybe people are bored, or maybe they’re scared, but the internet is a harsh place these days. It’s difficult to find a post where people aren’t arguing politics, government rulings, economy, etc. Of course, I’m tired of seeing coronavirus news in general, but when it’s mean-spirited and negative, it’s even worse.
Daily, I read unkind words about people from opposing political parties. I read disrespectful rants about our country’s President and how he is handling this global pandemic. I see believers find fault with their state authorities because the stay-at-home order isn’t (or is) being lifted. I see people fighting over whether or not churches should be open right now. I see people angry that their work was taken away from them, as well as people angry that they still have to go to work.
It’s difficult to fault anyone for wishing the world looked a little different than it does. It’s also difficult to fault anyone for having opinions about the way things are being handled. The fault lies in believers who place their opinions and beliefs over their Biblical mandate to win others to Christ.
A Watching World
Still speaking to myself (a fellow critic), I wonder if believers remember that the world is watching us right now. The Gospel is currently invading the internet as congregations all over the world post videos, songs, Bible verses, and more. Strangers who have never met Jesus scroll past our posts, and in that brief moment, they form an opinion about the God we serve…based on our words and attitudes. Unfortunately, for many of us, our words and attitudes do not paint a pleasant picture of our Lord.
Souls without Christ have no hope. As believers, we are indwelt by the Living Hope. What a shame to our testimony if we fail to share that hope with the hopeless. The world is negative enough without our help, and it is our Biblical duty to be “a light into darkness” (John 1:5).
I, for one, do not want to send out a conflicting message to unbelievers. I don’t want to be angry and critical in one post and “rejoice over God’s love” in the next.
From Criticism To Compassion
May I encourage every believer to think before speaking? Before you haphazardly fling angry or critical words out into the internet void, think…how do your words reflect Christ? How would an unsaved stranger perceive your attitude?
Are your words compassionate? Are they loving? Are they encouraging? Are they uplifting? Are they gracious? Are they refreshing? Are they kind?
Lots of good things are happening. Families are spending extra time together, good-hearted folks are going out of their way to take care of friends and strangers, and people are slowing down to ask what’s really important in life. Take advantage of this moment in history, and spread some love.
- Pray for others who are struggling.
- Pray for those in difficult leadership positions.
- Pray for hearts to be softened toward God’s Word.
- Pray for spiritual growth in the lives of believers.
- Pray for families to grow stronger.
- Pray that God will work in your heart personally.
- Pray for someone’s salvation.
- Ask someone in need how you can help.
God did not give us the gift of communication so that we can complain, criticize, and express our opinions. He gave it to us so that we can honor and glorify Him in everything we say.
Our Primary Focus
I know, we’re just human. I need God to help me be an encouragement as much as the next person does. Thankfully, He is all-loving, all-powerful, and entirely willing to help me (and you!) grow in this area, as well as in others. I would love it if you prayed for me, and I’d be happy to do the same for you.
Remember, the world changes constantly, but He never does. Eventually, the global scenery will change again, and we’ll be on to something new. Let’s make sure we spread the message of hope while we can. In eternity, nothing else will matter.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. – Ephesians 4:32
- by Kirsten Schmutzler