So, in one of those rare moments of pondering recently, my tiny mind splurted this idea out:
And I popped it onto my facebook page too. And it seemed to chime with people. So that got me thinking about it a bit more.
And I think perhaps we’ve got so much practice at preaching the dont’s that we’ve ended up forgetting the positive stuff.
Instead of giving people an invitation to something amazing, it’s like we’re red-carding them out of the game. We’re appointing ourselves umpire of their lives, and looking for all their mistakes. We’re saying to them, “you’re messing things up”. So if and when we do ever get round to inviting them to something far greater, to saying, “God loves you a massive amount”, they either don’t believe our message, or have gone off us enough to ignore us.
The fact of the matter is, we mess up, and we haven’t straightened ourselves out. We rely on God to do that with us as an ongoing process. So why do we work so hard at criticising people for living imperfect lives? Why don’t we point them to a destination beyond their wildest dreams, and then journey with them towards it? Perhaps because that second way is harder. It’s easy to criticise others (particularly when they’re making the same mistakes we know we’re guilty of), but harder to invite them to something special and then live like we mean the invitation. Because the journey requires long-term investment, while a criticism takes only a moment. The journey will include correction and rebuke, but always in the context of the destination. It’s not just a “you’re screwing things up”, it’s a, “don’t stray: we’ve come this far together, let’s not forget where we’re going”.
How about you?
Do you think Christians are better at criticising than encouraging?
If you’re a Christian, what steps can you take to address this?