“Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.” Romans 12: 9-10
(If you haven’t read the previous post, CRITICISM: Part 1, now is a good time…)
Back to the previously mentioned hubby and wife:
There are good intentions in both situations.
The wife is usually trying to help – but it’s not always perceived as such. The trash is NOT giong to take itself out…but telling him everytime he forgets to do it or refuses to do it isn’t going to help, either. How about taking it out once in a while for him? He might not notice it the first week…but YOU will. Don’t say anything…just do it. And don’t do it with the “He better appreciate the fact that I’m taking out the trash” attitude. That attitude stinks worse than the trash and completely kills the act of kindness!
And the man is usually trying to help, too. But pointing out the kitchen full of dirty dishes while you sit idly on the couch is probably not the best avenue for said conversation. How about surprising your wife with a clean kitchen…but not tell her your doing it? Just go in there and get it done. (yes, even wash the ones that don’t go in the dishwasher!) To quote Mark Gungor, “ding, ding, ding!!” You just earned mega points! 🙂 But don’t get upset if she doesn’t “see” it or ‘appreciate it” right away. If you really want to help her out – make a point of helping out around the house a couple times a week. Again, though, don’t spoil it with the “She better appreciate this!” attitude…it will overshadow the what you’ve just done for her and kill the act of kindness!
In my case, I tend to point out the fact that our family doesn’t spend as much time together as we’d like. And my hubby, in turn, has his own set of things that he likes to help point out that need a “fix”. Our methods may be different…but the end result is the same. We end up being critical instead of helpful. There IS such a thing as constructive criticism. But both parties have to be receptive and offer it doused in love if it is to work. Otherwise, the constructive side disappears and all that is received is the criticism.
I am harder on myself than other folks are. I analyze each of my actions, thoughts and deeds with such a critical eye that I end up doing that to others, as well. Perhaps, in all the analyzing, I should cling even more to the Grace that covers me through Christ…and allow HIm to do that fixing in me and others (when HE decides it’s time!).
The following is long, but worth the read. It comes from Romans 12 (the Message).
Place Your Life Before God
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.
In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.
If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.
Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.
Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”
Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.