Yesterday as we were driving down the highway, Biscuit said out of the blue, "I want to be a critic when I grow up." My response should have asked what he wanted to critique, but I guess I was having my own critical thoughts about my youngest wanting to be a critic! I said, "Well, I'm not sure that is something you should want to be, but sometimes you already are a critic. Sometimes I am, too!" Then his older brother, my 18-year-old, said, "I want to be a food critic!" To which I responded, "You already are!" And he is! And when it comes to food, he has been for a long time!
I told both boys the story about when Zachary was five or so. We were visiting my sister in Lubbock and she had made roast for after-worship-Sunday-lunch. As he ate, he said, "Your roast isn't as good as moms!" I was mortified!! My sister was shocked, but laughed! I don't remember exactly, but I'm certain it was good. I was probably too embarrassed to think about the taste after that! :)
Zachary is still a food critic! He loves to analyze food, cook food, and of course, eat good food. But if it's not good, he'll tell you! No matter who you are - even to his mom! Ha ha! But he'll say it about his own food, too.
I need to go back to yesterday's conversation and see what kind of critic Biscuit wants to be. We got sidetracked on the food part of the conversation and never got back to it. But Biscuit wasn't talking about food, I know. I think he was meaning a critic in general. Now that I think about it, it probably had to do with having homework on early-release day.
Some do seem to have grown up and become critics, haven't they? A critical spirit about everything? Never pleased with anything?
The definition of critic is, "one who expresses a reasoned opinion on any matter especially involving a judgment of its value, truth, righteousness, beauty, or technique." This makes it sound a little more flattering than "someone who complains". It is possible to have a reasoned opinion about a matter, yet word it in a way that it isn't complaining. Or, as I often tell that oldest son "food critic", "You can have an opinion, but not share it." We don't have to say everything we think! It's not our duty to share our complaints with the world! Unless you're a paid critic, that is. And he's not. I'm not, either.
There is a big difference between helping someone or something improve and in having a critical spirit. A critical spirit is never pleased. A critical spirit expects and finds disappointment wherever it looks. It is the opposite of what we read about in 1 Corinthians 13. It would say that a critical spirit "arrogantly judges, is easily provoked, accounts for every wrong, and never carries any hope of being pleased." I sure don't want to be that way, do you?!
Biblical criticism is helpful, loving, and based on truth. Correction is to be gentle and always in love. Our personalities should never be an excuse for sin. Just because we tend to be opinionated, doesn't mean we have the right to criticize and tell others about it.
Galatians 5:22-23 says the Spirit wants to produce in us love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If criticism cannot be expressed in keeping with the fruit of the Spirit, it's better left unsaid. The Spirit helps us in times of weakness, when we don't resist that help.
The opposite of criticism is to encourage and build up. That is what we should be doing with our words and by our actions. That is when we know that we are living out God's Will for our lives.
Therefore encourage one another and build up one another. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24