Saturday, January 26, 2013

Word Up!


Express sharp disapproval or criticism of (someone) because of their behavior or actions.
An expression of sharp disapproval or criticism.
verb.   reprove - reprimand - reprehend - scold - upbraid - chide
noun.   reprimand - reproof - reproach - reprehension

I don't know about you, but getting corrected, criticized, reprimanded, scolded, etc etc...does not sit well with me. 

I hate it. 

It stings. It's embarrassing. 

No matter how gently the person administers the correction, it still stings. 

I'm not sure what I hate more...being corrected or knowing the person correcting me is right. 

You may not know it by looking at my appearance or my house. Or the inside of my purse or the floor of my van...

But I'm a perfectionist at heart. A rule follower.

I don't know many people who wake up every morning and say, "How many times can I be wrong today?"

Most of us want to do the right thing. 

One of my chief concerns when I started blogging here and now with a team of girlfriends at Deliberate Women is criticism. In any form. 

Sure, dress it up and call it "constructive"...I still hate it. Detest it. 

Confrontation is uncomfortable for me. 

If I dug really deeply, maybe I'd find that I avoid it so much because confrontation means standing up for something and [usually] having to be bold in your assertion. It involves a clash of opinions. 

Save for that brief stint in the 90's when it was fashionable, I don't like clashing.

I'm trying to get better when these situations arise. I'm trying to ignore that rush of heat--the same rush you get when you're going slightly over the speed limit and you see flashing red lights in your rear view--that rush of heat. 

I tell myself to look at what the person said, regardless of how they said it, and see if there is any validity there. Take the truth and learn from it. 

That sounds so after-school-special like. 

So nicely wrapped up in a bow. 

The truth of the matter is I'm usually seeing red so badly I can't stop thinking of all the things I wish I would say/had said instead of hearing what the other person actually said

The past 2 weeks have given me such "wonderful" learning opportunities. 

I'm embarrassed on the one account and annoyed on the other. 

I was called out by 2 people on 2 separate occasions for doing things that were considered by them to be inappropriate. 

As embarrassing as it was, I agreed with one and absolutely disagreed with the other. 

Funny though, I bristled the same on both occasions. It's interesting to see that I respond the same way initially regardless of whether or not the criticism is (in my opinion) warranted. 

Proverbs 27:5 (The Message) says "A spoken reprimand is better than approval that’s never expressed." 

This next one caught my attention:

1 Corinthians 5:12 (ESV) "For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?"

How many countless minutes (hours?!) have I wasted on Facebook reading (and embarrassingly, commenting on) a page? It makes sense...rebuking those "outside of the church" or outside of the body of believers is not my place nor is it the most productive use of my time. It usually falls on deaf ears, anyway. 

2 Timothy 4:2 "Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching."

I think a key to the verse in 2 Timothy is "...with complete patience and teaching."

One of the keys to rebuking, correcting, offering constructive criticism-- is doing so in love, with patience. I think your tone of voice plays a part as well.  

The first example from my personal experience last week was done so graciously and with a respectful tone. The person was quick to explain why she said what she did and actually apologized if it came off the wrong way. It still bothered me. I wanted to crawl in a hole and disappear, but she was absolutely spot-on and in the right to say what she did. (That doesn't mean I didn't obsess about it for days, though.)

The second example, however, I feel was out of place and inappropriate. Any value in the person's words was lost by the fact that it was "said" in a condescending manner and by someone that I don't even know. And, ironically, the offense I was reprimanded for was the very thing my "correcter" was doing. So, her hypocrisy was far more evident (to me) than any words of wisdom. 

Bottom line: being corrected or scolded is no fun. Most would rather avoid it at all costs. I know I do. BUT...believe it or not (ha ha), there are times I fail. I make mistakes. I flat out disobey. And in those times I would rather have someone rebuke me in love than turn a blind eye so they don't offend me. 

Example #1 "felt" better, but example #2 is also valid in that I can take from what was said, weigh it, sift it, and take the valid points to heart. That is, after my blood pressure returns to normal. 

I can also learn from example #2 how NOT to rebuke someone else. 

My kids come to mind here. I am quick to have a sharp tongue with my kids when they do something wrong. Funny how I "forget" how that stings when I'm not the one on the business end of the rebuke. 

I want my kids to feel that correction is a tool, not a weapon. 

I'm sucky at that. I'm a "yeller" and that tends to get in the way of any message I might be trying to convey.

It's a look-in-the-mirror moment when you realize the way you've been acting/speaking/treating others is a way you would not want to be spoken to/treated yourself.

This song by Hawk Nelson says it better than I can:


They've made me feel like a prisoner
They've made me feel set free
They've made me feel like a criminal
Made me feel like a king

They've lifted my heart
To places I'd never been
And they've dragged me down
Back to where I began

Words can build you up
Words can break you down
Start a fire in your heart or
Put it out

Let my words be life
Let my words be truth
I don't wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You

I've been talking to my kids about using words as a gift. Anything out of our mouths should be purposeful. Whether it's to make someone feel better, train someone, speak the Truth, share the Gospel, communicate, create a sense of community, and on and on...our words should have a purpose:

Ephesians 4:29 says, "Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift." (The Message)

Boy if THAT isn't a hard one to live by consistently!

But, I am working on making each word purposeful, important, useful and used for good, not harm.

I'll talk a little more about it on Deliberate Women on Monday.
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