I also could speak like you, if you were in my place; I could make fine speeches against you and shake my head at you. But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief. (Job 16:4-5)
We live in a culture that applauds the armchair critics. Everyone has a platform to speak his or her mind on the issues of the day without fear, behind the curtain of the Internet. Things that we wouldn’t say to another person’s face are easily posted on a Facebook wall or within a blog post.
The problem with being an unchecked critic is that we only see one side of a story. We know what we see, but we’ve never walked a day in the shoes of those we critique.
It’s easy to have an opinion when you’ve never lived the other side of a story.
But what if we heeded Job’s advice? What if we sought to be an encouragement to those who are suffering? What if rather than tearing down we sought to build up? We might find that we didn’t really understand the situation all that well in the first place. And in doing so, we might be a blessing to those who are truly struggling.
Father, help me to not be so quick to judge the actions of others. Give me the wisdom to remember that I don’t know the entirety of a situation. Give me the courage to be an encourager who brings blessing instead of a critic who brings frustration and discouragement.