Wednesday, November 14, 2007
"Criticism" versus having a "Critical Spirit"......
After putting the Winston Churchill quote on here earlier today I began to think on it some.
Criticism that is.
How it works and how it shouldn't.
The quote earlier was this.......
"Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things."
And I still believe in what he said and what he was trying to make people understand. Things can and do get unhealthy when we go around and say.....
"I'm fine, I'm fine. Everything is fine."
Especially if your in pain and you could be fixed.
Or a situation could be "fixed."
You have got to ADDRESS the pain. It's not always easy.
My husband and I have always said in many situations it is BEST to do
"Radical Surgery" rather than to let something grow and over take a person.
We are talking about life and spiritual situations mainly.
But Dr.'s do the same thing. You have to deal with the "spot"......or the area of concern. It's not being critical to do that. It's lifesaving in many cases.
I know this FIRST hand. Not only in my own body either.
Yet, there IS a HUGE difference though between having a little helpful
"Criticism" and having a "Critical Spirit."
Back in the day.....many of us were "into" the "Anne of Green Gables" movies.
I LOVED watching them with my old, good, friend Chantelle and others too, but Chantelle and I were really into them.
The movies were so fun and sad and romantic. Such good endings too. They really left you wanting MORE!
The story is about a little orphan girl.....Anne Shirley who is adopted by mistake, by a family...."The Cuthberts." Who are a single Brother named Matthew and his single Sister Marilla.
Matthew and Marilla lived together on their family land and "thought" they were adoping a "Boy" and that would be able to help them on their farm because they were elderly and "Matthew" needed a boy to lift some of the chores off of him.
The story goes on to tell how they kept Anne despite many trials and tribulations and how they end up loving her so much and how bringing her into their lives changed not only them and Anne, but the lives of everyone of Prince Edward Island and beyond.
Sigh. Sniff. It's such a touching thing really you have to see it for yourself first hand. I haven't seen it in years but just writing about it is bringing tears to my own eyes because I remember it so strongly and it's so sweet and wonderful how people's lives can change and WHAT would and could have happened had they not done what they did.
Say if the Cuthbert's hadn't kept Anne. She couldn't have ever reached her full potential in life and help the people she ws to help.
It's a fabulous story in either book or movie fashion. If you have never seen it. Get it and watch it. PBS used to put it on all the time.
Anyhow.....Marilla's good friend was Rachel Lynde.
The bad thing was.....Rachel had a "Critical Spirit" and she hurt people. I mean all the time.
That is what we DON'T want to do or to be "under" my friends.
There is a difference. Criticism versus having a Critical Spirit.
Let me show you.......by example of Rachel's very first encounter with Anne Shirley.
Rachel came to the Cuthbert's home to check out Anne and to try to reason with them to "send her back." She didn't think it was so great of an ideal for them to keep her for various reasons.
Rachel was "known" for "speaking her mind" and for basically having a critical and negative spirit. Hard for people like that to find the "GOOD" in anything in life.
This is the very first thing that Rachel ever speaks to Anne:
"Well, they didn't pick you for your looks, that's sure and certain," was Mrs. Rachel Lynde's emphatic comment. Mrs. Lynde was one of those delightful and popular people who pride themselves on speaking their mind without fear or favor. "She's terrible skinny and homely, Marilla. Come here, child, and let me have a look at you. Lawful heart, did any one ever see such freckles? And hair as red as carrots! Come here, child, I say."
Poor little Anne. I mean can you imagine someone being SO cruel? That is a a "Critical Spirit" there was nothing redemptive about what she said.
In fact.......this is how Anne Shirley responded to Mrs. Rachel Lynde:
"I hate you," she cried in a choked voice, stamping her foot on the floor. "I hate you--I hate you--I hate you--" a louder stamp with each assertion of hatred. "How dare you call me skinny and ugly? How dare you say I'm freckled and redheaded? You are a rude, impolite, unfeeling woman!"
Well.......can you blame Anne for saying that back? I don't think so. Plus she's a damaged child. That just received MORE damage at the hand of an adult. Instead of being given a "hand up".....she was being giving a dump truck load of rejection piled right on her little, red head.
I feel that if you speak "Criticism" there must be a redemptive reason as to why....I mean you just don't side wipe people or situations.......you must be about "fixing, mending, repairing" or something that is constructive by the criticism.
You know, only do....."Constructive Criticism." That is what Winston Churchill meant.
We have a friend of who is just a fantastic person..she's off the charts as far as precious people go.
She's a Widow who took a "LIFE" chance and when her two kids were pre-teens. She felt the "call" to go to Africa to work with Medical Mission Center and to take the kids along and they were going to help out as a family.
IT was not an easy thing for her to do and she faced much criticism as a result. Negative criticism. Not much positive at all.
She got through it though and was stronger in the end because of it.
Their journey's to Africa, I say "journey's" because they did TWO tours of missions work at over a year at a time......changed their lives and the lives of those they impacted.
Now as a result in their own lives, her older child is a nurse and is proceeding further into school for her Doctorate, etc. as a Midwife at a major University out of state..so she can do Missions work in hospitals overseas at some point...and her younger son is going to school to become a Dr. so he can be a Medical Dr. doing Missions work overseas. Hummmm.....
Both of these kids go EVERY year and do MAJOR missions work in hard countries. All because their Mother stood her ground.
Even against NEGATIVE criticism.
You've heard that phrase......"When life gives you lemons, make Lemonade?" That's a nice suggestion in a trial or with a hard situation that is negative.
However, very little "Lemonade" can be made from "harsh lemons" that are old, and bitter and moldy. That is what a Critical Spirit looks like.
"A Critical Spirit will crush the soul of a person."
PLEASE, please be very careful what you do and how you do it and WHY!
Believe me I've made my own mistakes in fits of passion or less even, over some thing and thrown some rocks and some swords and some nasty lemons.
But it's not the BEST way to deal with it.
I've learned through the years to work on that. I'm not perfect, but I am way better.
Because that is the FLESH my friends.
Also NO one likes to be criticised either.
But sometimes IT IS necessary. I believe that even for myself.
PLEASE, PLEASE.....IF I leave my house and I have toilet paper hanging out of the waistband of my pants and it's trailing behind me like a Bridal train on a Wedding Gown.....please someone...be critical of my appearance.
TO me. For my sake.
Don't just let me strut out in public like I'm the "Queen of England" with toilet paper hanging out of my clothing.
I normally don't "strut in public like the Queen of England, but you never know."
Criticism is not a bad thing in and of itself. Do you see what I am saying?
It's how you do it and WHY you are doing it.
Motive is ALWAYS something we must question ourselves about in many things....especially in criticism.
Remember "Motive and Method." That is the key to most things anyway.
My Missionary friend told me this recently......we had been trying to find some information for someone regarding something overseas and some odd topic came up about a "train wreck situation."
And I don't mean trains in general. I mean someone that has gotten into a train wreck situation in their life.
They got "off the proper train track" and have derailed in their faith and other things.
My friend then said to me in that conversation......
"IF I EVER gets "off track" in my faith and my convictions, and my moral values and standards in how I live"....to "please come hit me with a truck."
That sounds a bit rash I know.
But I laughed actually when she said it and she was serious.
I know exactly what she meant though and she was saying this.....
"HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE."
That is a GOOD thing.
We don't do that enough with each other and we should and we must.
Especially these days where anything goes.
So I told her.....
"Don't worry Sister....I OWN a truck and I will come after you."
Be critical in a way that holds someone or something accountable.
Don't destroy someone OR yourself with a "Critical Spirit" because what goes around.....will always come around.
It IS a Bible principal.
Go get yourself a copy of the "Anne of Green Gables" movies to watch over the Thanksgiving holidays and get ready for a good life lesson on
"overcoming adversity and criticism."
You will see that Anne herself needed "some" criticism for "life guidance" and that she was herself somewhat critical.
But it all works out in the end.
Make sure you have a box of Kleenex's handy too.
Oh and FYI....Rachel Lynde changes too in the end.
Isn't life GRAND?????