How’s your intake…and how does it compare to your output? Every day all of us intake (receive) words spoken into us. We also output (speak words into those around us). The negative criticism and judgements that we hear tend to be the nutrients that feeds what we speak into others. This can be our spouse, kids, ministry team, or even the innocent grocery store checker. I’ve been guilty of this many times!
Our encouragement to others often goes unappreciated, yet when we speak damaging words those are often remembered for a lifetime.
At one time or another, we have all been on both sides of this statement. And it’s so true! When you help or encourage someone, don’t you want them to remember it? Don’t you wish your efforts would be a lasting blessing?
Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29
May we all strive to have our words spoken from our hearts…and not our hurts. Remember, your words to a total stranger today just might be the only uplifting words they will hear!
Has someone recently spoken words of encouragement to you? How did it impact you and your day?
“The way that you ______________ really isn’t the best approach.”
“Have you ever thought about a different line of work?”
Well, I have. I’ve had all of these said to me at some point in my ministry….and probably more than once. The reason? More often than not, I wasn’t open to learning. Why should I have been? I was the ‘paid’ professional…right? I’m on staff because I know everything. I’m the leader and they are the followers. (insert extreme sarcasm)
Now, this is pretty normal for most young leaders to experience. The hope, however, is that we grow and mature out of this stage of knowing EVERYTHING and into the stage of realizing that we really KNOW VERY LITTLE!
How do we make that move?
By simply practicing how to receive constructive criticism with humility and a heart for learning.
Look at what Ecclesiastes 7:5 tells us.
Better to be criticized by a wise person than to be praised by a fool.
Let me offer my translation as this passage relates to leadership.
Learn from those who notice your weaknesses when you don’t, and minimize your exposure to leaders who value flattery over health.
Don’t get me wrong. We all love words of encouragement and praise for a job well done. But all of that is useless if it leads to stagnant growth.
Key point: All criticism, both positive and negative, should have only the best intentions in mind for the individual and the organization.
Leave me a comment below or a voicemail with your thoughts.