Tuesday, September 3
1 Samuel 8:4-5a, “So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways…”
We all have our critics! People criticize everything from the way we look to the way we act to the things we say. Sometimes there is truth there and sometimes there’s no truth within miles of their critique.
In today’s scripture, a large group of elders surrounded Samuel and decided to speak for everyone, which is typical even today. They gave him two critiques: First, they said he was too old. Second, they told him he was a bad dad.
First of all, don’t ever tell anyone they are too old. Don’t tell them they are too young. Don’t tell anyone they are too ____ to do _____. God can use anyone who is willing and available. And, he often uses the person we least expect. Second, just because his sons went south doesn’t mean Samuel was a bad dad. Many great parents who lead their children in the ways of God unexpectedly experience the pain of a prodigal. What did Samuel do? He showed his spiritual maturity by praying. And, then he took it a step farther and obeyed God.
Do the same in your life when criticized. Pray first, then act on God’s advice.
Write down these two words on a sheet of paper: “Critique” and “Criticism.” Then, write down the difference between the two. There’s a difference between critiquing and being critical. One helps while the other hurts. One builds up while the other tears down. Make it a habit to critique others in a healthy way instead of criticizing others in a damaging way.
God, help me always see the difference between critiquing and criticism. Help me to speak words of encouragement in order to build up others instead of words of criticism that tear others down. In Jesus’ name, Amen.