“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”1 When we hear those words, do we expect to hear that we are the fairest of them all? What is super humbling is that sometimes there are ugly parts of ourselves that can be seen by others and need to be plucked out.
A couple of months ago, I was talking to my youngest daughter when she said, “Mom, you are so critical!” I thought we were just having a discussion. I was sharing how she could take the situation and make it better. I discussed how she could change her behavior to make things better, but what she heard was, “You are not good enough.” That surely was not what I wanted to communicate to my child!
Fast forward about a week, and I had a friend point out a similar flawed way in me. I will not lie. It hurt. Being the good friend that she is, I listened, and I prayed over what she had said.
“See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:24, NIV
I pray Psalm 139:24 over myself all the time. There is nothing more humbling (and hurtful) when God answers this prayer.
There is not one person who doesn’t have an offensive way in them. We all have a plank in our eye which makes it hard to see clearly the faults in ourselves (Matthew 7:5). There is not one of us who is righteous (Romans 3:10).
I encourage you to make sure you have a friend who loves you enough to hurt your feelings and speech truth into your life. There are some people who just want to hurt other people or tear them down, but sit up and listen when someone you know and love who is walking with the Lord points out a wicked way in you. Even though it hurts, know that it is loving.
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man (or woman) sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17, ESV
As I got ready to write this blog today, I sat outside in the sunshine on my deck and prayed that God would confirm this subject and be with me as I wrote about it. Not one hour later I had my son tell me I was being critical and was not giving him credit for all the right he does. Well, there was my confirmation!
I can make excuses of why I do it. The way I was raised, the job that I do, my type A personality, I want my kids to excel or whatever else. I can take the 10 things my kids are doing, and I will pick out the weakest one. In my mind, I am pushing them and encouraging them to be better or press harder, but what they hear a lot of times is that they don’t measure up.
I need to have more grace and use more encouraging words. I need to hold my tongue. I really don’t want to be a critical person, but I can’t change it if I don’t know I do it. I am trying to change it.
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11, NIV
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1 Snow White movie, Disney