1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV)
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
A survey asked mothers to keep track of how many times they made both negative and positive comments to their children. The surveyed mothers admitted that they criticized at least ten times for every one time they said something favorable. Another survey taken in one city's schools found that the teachers were negative seventy five per cent of the time. This study concluded that it takes four positive statements to a child from a parent or teacher to offset the effects of one negative statement. Wow, when I think about how many times I've said negative things to people in my lifetime, I have some positive paying back to do!
Many times we justify our criticizing, hurtful words and actions by thinking we're right in a matter. But, in fact, the only one who's all right is the Lord! And He has called us to be the encouragers of the world! We have the gift of God residing within us, and we are ambassadors of the His love. We need to constantly remind ourselves to operate under that love in every circumstance - even the most difficult!
When we find ourselves getting ready to criticize, let's strive to stop in our tracks and say something encouraging instead --- not only to the world around us but to ourselves!