Learn to compliment rather than criticize

11/17/2013 4:00 PM

11/17/2013 6:49 PM

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: My husband got upset with me the other day because he says all I do is criticize him. Instead of getting angry (like I usually do), I stopped and thought about it, and I guess he’s probably right. But what can I do? I make critical remarks without even thinking. — J.F.

DEAR J.F.:

You’ve already taken the first step by admitting you have this problem and want to do something about it. Constantly criticizing others not only drives a wedge between you and them, but is wrong in the eyes of God.

Why is this? One reason is that a critical attitude almost always has its roots in pride, which is a sin. Down inside, a critical person likes to think he or she is superior to others, and knows better than they do how things ought to be done. Even if they’re occasionally right about this, they end up implying that the other person is dumber than they are. But the Bible warns, “The pride of your heart has deceived you” (Obadiah 3).

What can you do? First, ask your husband to forgive you, and also to help you overcome your tendency to be critical. Learn to compliment others when they do something positive — and deliberately look for things you can compliment. This may seem hard at first; right now, you’re used to looking for things to criticize. But in time your attitude can change, with God’s help.

Most of all, make Christ the center of your life, and ask him to help you love others the way he does. Ask him also to help you control your tongue, so you learn to bless and encourage others instead of criticizing them. The Bible says, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6).

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