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August 2004 - Are you an Encourager—or a Criticizer?

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August 2004

Are you an Encourager—or a Criticizer?

Many people are quick to make suggestions and even quicker to criticize.

A man asked his wife, “Why do you constantly criticize me?” She said, “I’m doing it for your own good. I have the gift for seeing faults in people.” There’s a gift to hide under a bushel!

Writer, Catherine Marshall, told of the time she decided to do a one-day experiment. She knew she was often critical of others. Then one morning as she meditated on Romans 14:13 that warns against being judgmental or critical of others, she decided to spend the next day not criticizing anyone.

She wondered what the result would be. Lunch the next day with her husband and friends was normal except for the unusual silence of one person—Catherine. She had not committed to silence, just to not criticizing. She was surprised to realize how much of her conversation was usually critical and judgmental. She was silent only because she couldn’t contribute to the conversation without being critical.

That afternoon something special began to happen. She felt a surge of creativity. New ideas and positive thoughts flowed through her in a way she hadn’t experienced in a long time. By bedtime she marveled at all that had happened simply because she refused to be critical. A letter to encourage a friend, insight into praying for a college student, seeking her husband’s forgiveness, all filtered through her freely because there were no negative thoughts to stop them. Catherine’s one-day experiment became a lifetime habit. She became an encourager rather than a criticizer.

Encouragement brings out the best in others and the best in us as we encourage others! We all need it. And we all need to give it! The word encouragement comes from "en" meaning "in" with the word courage. Thus, to encourage someone is to put courage into them--to help them to be and do their very best.

So which are you, an encourager—or a criticizer? What are you going to do about it?

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama
jkline@klinespeak.com

August 2004 - Are you an Encourager—or a Criticizer?
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