You may have heard the story about the two taxidermists who stopped in front of a store window. In the window, an old owl was on display. These two specialists immediately began to criticize the way it was mounted.... its eyes were not natural.... its wings were not in proportion with the head... its feathers were not neatly arranged.... and its talons could be greatly improved. When they finished their critical examination, the old owl turned its head and winked at them!
I think we are all, to some degree or another, like those taxidermists. We sometimes seem unable to control our selves and we get carried away with criticism. We look at our elders, preachers, deacons, Bible class teachers, song leaders, those who lead public prayers, our friends, our parents, our spouses, and even our children with harsh and unjust criticism. While there are times when criticism is appropriate and necessary, too often it is the result of an unbridled tongue.
Jesus was very clear in Matthew 7 that he did not want us to have a judgmental attitude toward others. The more mercy and grace we can extend to others, the better off we will be (Matthew 7:2).
*May I challenge you to be less critical and more understanding?
*May I challenge you to be less Judgmental and more merciful?
*May I challenge you to be slower to speak words of criticism and quicker to speak words of praise, extolling the good in others?
*May I challenge you to, when criticism is necessary, to be gentle and to express your criticism to the appropriate party?
I believe that if we will accept these challenges, we will be better people, and will more clearly reflect Christ in our lives. Also, if we will accept these challenges, I think we'll like the new you better than the old one.
- Steve Higginbotham