Gold Book of Prayers
WHEN WE STOP CRITICIZING OTHERS WE'RE OFTEN MET WITH A WAVE OF GRACE
The next time you feel like criticizing someone, stop. Hold off. Put it aside. And feel a wave of grace.
That's right: keeping our mouths shut opens the Kingdom of heaven. God loves silence. He loves when we contemplate. He loves when we suffer quietness instead of mouthing off and getting everybody's (and especially our own) nerves jangled.
It's a tough thing to do, like anything that brings God's favor. It takes discipline. It's a test. So treated it like that. For a few days, for a week, put it in your mind to approach every temptation to criticize as a challenge, and you'll be amazed at what happens. If you succeed in avoiding saying anything negative you'll start feeling great. You'll feel filled. Prayer will come easier -- because when we don't criticize we're closer to God to begin with!
Of course, this is easier said than done. Criticizing others in a natural proclivity. We do it to try to elevate ourselves. It's a manifestation of pride. It's also a manifestation of envy. Putting down someone else makes us feel superior.
But the feeling is temporary. Whenever we talk against someone, it comes home to roost and if you watch events closely, you'll see yourself falling into the same type of behavior, or at least being tempted with the same behavior, that you have criticized other for.
Criticism is divisive. It degrades the only we attack. And we degrade ourselves. You'll note that the Pope rarely if ever criticizes a person by name. The same was true of Jesus. It was the matter of casting the first stone, and yet we live in a society that is obsessed with doing just that. Our radio shows are full of broadcasters who entire claim to fame is downing others -- and when we listen, when we enjoy someone besmirching another, when we like a constant spewing of negativity, we become participants and it comes back to bite us. There is a loss of grace.
So next time you feel like pointing out the negative in someone, first try to be that person's defense attorney. Ask yourself if you have every done something similar. Strive to see the good parts of a personality, and focus on them. See all the reasons the person may have done what she or he did. That's what God does, and thank God for that!
For can you imagine what kind of shape we'd be in if God judged us like we judge others?
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