CRITICISM VS. CELEBRATION
Criticism: The expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistake1; to judge as a critic; to find fault; to blame or condemn2
Matthew 7:1-5 1Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck you’re your brother’s eye.
Romans 14:10-12 10You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11It is written: ‘“As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’” 12So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE OF A RELATIONSHIP
Revelation 6:1-8 1I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” 2I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. 3When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” 4Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword. 5When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. . . . 7When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” 8I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.
CRITICISM: (a critical spirit) is the act of finding fault or judging unfavorably. When you criticize your partner, you attack your partner’s personality or character, usually with the intent of making yourself right and your partner wrong. Criticism includes generalizations such as “you always…” “you never…” and “you’re the type of person who…”
CONTEMPT: (a root of bitterness) is a feeling of disdain or scorn. Contempt attacks your partner’s sense of self with the intention to insult or psychologically abuse him/her. Typical contemptuous comments made by partners include: insults and name calling, hostile humor, sarcasm or mockery, as well as contemptuous body language and tone of voice, sneering, rolling your eyes, mimicking and parroting.
DEFENSIVENESS: (unrepentance) is seeing yourself as the victim and warding off a perceived attack. When partners are defensive they are not open to learning and are also not able to assess the vulnerable feelings underneath. Some typical defensive responses are: making excuses, cross-complaining, disagreeing and then cross- complaining, yes-buting (starting off agreeing but disagreeing), repeating yourself without paying any attention to what the other person is saying, and whining.
STONEWALLING: (rejection/hate) is withdrawing from the interaction, or the relationship, as a way to avoid conflict—it’s shutting down, tuning out, turning away, avoiding, acting busy, engaging in obsessive or distracting behaviors, hiding out in your man-cave or your she-shed, giving the silent treatment – left unchecked – this is the most damaging of the four horsemen.3
REMEMBER: The heart of the matter is almost always a matter of the heart!
“A person with a harsh tongue has an angry heart. A person with a negative tongue has a fearful heart. A person with an overactive tongue has an unsettled heart. A person with a boasting tongue has an insecure heart. A person with a filthy tongue has a impure heart. A person with a critical tongue has a bitter heart.” – Rick Warren4
Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, it is the wellspring of life.
James 3:8-10 …8but no man being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.
Proverbs 10:11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked. Proverbs 12:18-19 18Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. 19Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
Proverbs 13:3 He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.
Proverbs 15:4 The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Proverbs 18:20-21 20From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied. 21The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Proverbs 21:23 He who guards his mouth and his tongue keep himself from calamity.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION?DISCUSSION AT HOME AND/OR IN YOUR LIFE GROUP