Last Saturday night it was Word and Worship at Kerith. Catrina brought such a great message about kind words and speaking life into others. God seems to be speaking to me about this a lot recently & the main thing that I’m learning is that I’m most critical of those that I’m jealous of or competitive with.
- Jealousy stems from the belief that we should have the blessings and success that others enjoy. Often we’re too busy examining the lives of other people to live our own lives with passion and gratitude. If you’re dissatisfied with your life, it’s up to you to rewrite your story, don’t insert yourself into another’s. Criticising another person will not get us anywhere nearer to the life we want. God needs us to fully be who He created us to be. Golda Meir says “Trust yourself. Create the kinds of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” Jealousy is a waste of time and is an indicator of the deeper issue: a dissatisfied life.
- God may use your jealousy to promote the other person and to humble you. You see this in the life of Joseph & Jesus. Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him. But God used their envy to promote Joseph so that he was one day in the position to save them. Similarly, Jesus was arrested and crucified out of the leading priests envy (Mark 15:10) but God used Jesus’ arrest to save the world. Although their actions were intended to harm, God used them for good. So while you’re trying to mar someone’s reputation, God will use it for His purpose. Samuel Johnson wrote “Whoever envies another confesses his superiority.”
- We criticise our friends to try and level the proverbial playing field. Benjamin Franklin said, “To find out a girl’s faults, praise her to her friends”. How often do we treat our friendships like a competition? It’s easy to be pleased for the successes of those who are your leaders or older than you, it’s also easy to be pleased about the successes of those you lead or who are younger than you. However, it’s often our peers successes that we resent as we become competitive over them. Friendship should not be about what we can do or what we have but about who we are. There are space for all of our gifts and talents.
Here’s some excellent stuff that Catrina said and that I’ve read about avoiding negative talk:
1. Keep the topic of conversations about those that are present. Focus conversation on yourself and not on others.
2. Honour the person you are tempted to criticize. Add to a flattering description, encourage them.
3. Don’t just stay quiet, leave the room. Gossip that you hear still has the power to affect your perspective
4. Use your conversations to include, appreciate, affirm, be truthful, positive and beneficial.