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MINDLESS CRITICISM

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REV. ANDREW DEMOTSES

People who constantly criticize others and enjoy making negative comments at every opportunity, actually reveal their own poor self-image and weakness of character. In contrast to them, there are those who delight in offering praise to others, and who never tire of pointing out the strength and virtues of those around them. In doing so, they reflect a loving heart and healthy, positive view of themselves. Instead of condemning others, they joyfully commend others, and would much rather build up than tear down.

These individuals not only refrain from negative and hurtful talk them selves, but also help to discourage unkind remarks from others. I am reminded of a wonderful man that I knew in my childhood, who refused to share in an unkind word. If someone remarked, "He's no good at sports.", he would quickly respond, "Yes, but he always plays fair." If a critical one commented, "He isn't very smart.", he would simply add, "That May be true, but he always tries hard to do his very best." To the comment "have you noticed what a poor dresser he is?", he invariably replied, "Yes, but have you noticed that he is always so neat and clean!" It was his custom to counter every negative observation with a positive comment. In doing so, he discouraged negativity in others who quickly learned that he refused to be their audience.

What a beautiful example that man offered to us to follow! Taking to heart the words of St. Paul, "Get rid of all bitterness, passion and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feeling of any sort. Instead be kind and tender-hearted to one another..." (Eph. 4:31-32), let us each resolve that we will refrain from evil speaking, being kind and tender hearted to one another. In this way, we will not contribute to the harsh and ungodly spirit of criticism but will try to cancel it whenever we can. Let it be said of us that rather than point a critical finger, we chose to hold out a helping hand instead.

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