I’m a word guy.
I know a lot of words. I use a lot of words because I talk a lot, write a lot, and read a lot. Some people aren’t into words, and that’s okay. Some are into performing small acts of service for others, or giving gifts, and so on…but not me. I’m a Words of Affirmation person. When I want someone to feel good, I tend to use words to make the effort. When someone uses words to make me feel good, it probably means more to me than to, say, a person who’s into giving gifts. Because I’m a words person, criticism probably means more to me as well.
Unnecessary criticism can be very costly. I’m not talking about the kind of criticism that, when spoken in love, helps us become better people. I’m talking about the kind of criticism that’s designed simply to expose the flaws we see in each other. The kind of criticism that tends to be spoken out of our own selfishness. When we use our words to cut someone down, we usually make them feel bad about themselves…and about us. We endanger our relationships with criticism. We damage our children when we nitpick. Even unnecessarily correcting someone can hurt.
On the flip side, honest compliments are free. They don’t cost us anything to give, but they may be of unspeakable value to the person we compliment. Don’t hold back when you think of something good to say…let it out! It might be uncomfortable at first, but you’ll get used to it. You’re flexible like that. Try to remember that we have all kinds of good reasons to encourage each other, but only one good reason to criticize: as a loving service to someone who values our opinion.
The video below is a bit long…around 16 minutes. I found it fascinating when I first saw it, and heartbreaking the second time. So many people need a kind word, and so few give them. Be an encourager. I know you can do it!
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.Ephesians 4:29