I did it again. I watched him sigh and leave the room. He didn’t snap back. He just removed himself from my criticism. He used to throw a quick response back, but not so much anymore. I immediately felt guilty, because I knew I fell back into the familiar pattern of fault-finding.
My motive is not to attack, but that’s the way it seems. I think I know better, so I offer correction. I may think I’m inspiring others to improve themselves and do better. But, it’s not my job to offer commentary on someone else’s decisions or behavior. It’s just hard to keep my mouth shut, and think before I speak.
So, if I have such a hard time changing myself, how do I dare think I can change somebody else?
Whether it’s a teacher scolding her student, the husband irritated with his wife, the long-term caretaker whose patience has worn thin, or the parent trying to survive their child’s adolescence – we all can be prone to fault-finding.
From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? James 3: 10-11
I’m so glad our Heavenly Father is merciful to us. He does not harass us about every mistake, nor does He nag about every fault. He is gracious and kind toward us.
However, by the conviction of the Holy Spirit, I do feel the pinch when I make another blunder. God knows my failings and offers forgiveness when I ask. How then, can I not be gracious toward others and speak kind and helpful words instead of sharp-tongued criticism?
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person -Colossians 4:6 ESV
Now, I need to go and ask the one I’ve nagged for his forgiveness.
Prayer: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Amen.
THINK BEFORE WE SPEAK: Is it kind, gracious, and helpful to say that?