1 Cor 13:4-7 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not [a]puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, [b]thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
A survey asked mothers to keep track of how many times they made both negative and positive comments to their children. The surveyed mothers admitted that they criticized at least ten times for every one time they said something favorable. Another survey taken in one city's schools found that the teachers were negative seventy-five percent of the time. This study concluded that it takes four positive statements to a child from a parent or teacher to offset the effects of one negative statement.
Wow, when I think about how many times I've said negative things to people in my lifetime, I have some positive paying back to do!
Many times we justify our criticizing, hurtful words and actions by thinking we're right in a matter. But, in fact, the only one who's all right is the Lord! And He has called us to be the encouragers of the world! We have the gift of God residing within us, and we are ambassadors of the His love. We need to constantly remind ourselves to operate under that love in every circumstance - even the most difficult ones!
When we find ourselves getting ready to criticize, let's strive to stop in our tracks and say something encouraging instead --- not only to the world around us but to ourselves!