Are You a Cheerleader or a Nitpicker?

The author of The Heavenly Man said he discovered a persecution more painful than electric probes and filthy prisons. The criticism of so-called Christian brothers and sisters in the Western world bruised him more than the fists of his communist oppressors.

A best selling Christian author wrote an article apologizing for offending some religious people when he was seen playing black jack in a casino with a pastor friend. Did readers thank him for his sensitivity? No, the comment section exploded with scathing ridicule.

An author recently told me about harsh criticism and negative innuendos swirling around two wildly successful Christian writers. The works of these authors have opened the eyes of countless readers to Jesus’ presence in their everyday lives. Yet some religious folks want to pick them apart. My friend said it’s made her cautious in her writing.

I understand. Rejection hurts. As Vicki Peterson and Barbara Nicoloisi point out in their book Notes to Screenwriters, “It hurts more than success and validation exhilarate.”

We are called to be discerning, not nit picky. The religious leaders in Jesus’ day were nitpickers. They weren’t seeking understanding when He made hard statements. They sought to tear Him apart. Jesus called them “blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” (Matthew 23:24, NASB).

Before criticizing consider:

  • How do my remarks affect those listening? Are they making silent vows to bury their talents? Remember Paul’s words, “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand… 13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister” (Romans 14:4, 13, NIV).

  • What’s my motive? Has this person attained something I want? James 3:13-4:2 says actions motivated by bitter jealousy don’t come from above, but are earthly, natural, demonic.
  • How can I express it in love? Do my words build Christ’s kingdom or cause one of His servants unnecessary pain and distraction? If the concern is sincere, kindly offer the reason for your concern and perhaps a solution. Sandwich these between sincere compliments.
  • Would I want to be treated this way? We reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7). Give out only what you want to get back.

God makes different personalities for His glory. There is a big difference between not enjoying rap music and cutting down those who rap. And don’t forget the personal benefit that comes from focusing on the positive. Thinking about what’s lovely and excellent brings us peace (Philippians 4:8-9).

Jesus said His followers would be known by their love for one another. Pharisees were known by their haughty attitudes and rigid rules. What about you? Are you a cheerleader or a nitpicker?

Click here to comment.


Debbie W. Wilson

Linking to: #LifeGivingLinkup, #RaRaLinkup Time!, #WordswithWinter, Spiritual Sundays

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  1. Ralph Smith

    Debbie, I really appreciate your post today. It reminded me of the riducle that Jane Fonda, Bob Dylan, and Carlos Santana faced when they announced that they had become Christians. Rather than embracing their changes and praising them, many in the “Christian” community could not look past their past. These selfproclaimed judges continued to cling on to their rightous attitudes. They believed themselves to be too good to accept such converts at face value, rejoicing that they were now a part of the body of Christ. Thank you.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ralph, It is very unfair to expect any new believer to have instant maturity because they happen to be a celebrity. Sanctification is a life-long process, and God has a different path for each of us. I doubt any faultfinder would want to have their private life publicly examined by the masses. It’s like we don’t see how the ridicule of those trying to follow Christ reflects back on the whole church. Thank you for your thoughts. May the Lord tame our tongues and soften our hearts.

  2. Tyra

    Your words are speaking to my mama heart today. I will be intentional about watching what I say to see if I’m nitpicking or building up. Happy to be visiting you from #lifegivinglinkup

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you for dropping by, Tyra. It is so easy carelessly to nitpick those we love.

  3. Dana

    Great post! As Christians, we need to stand for what is right. However, we do need to make sure we are building up and not tearing down. We teach our children to think before they speak, but we adults need to do that as well. Visiting from the #RaRaLinkup.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Well said, Dana! Thank you for visiting.

  4. Ann

    We definitely are called to be builders not those who tear down and the difference between discernment and judgmental nitpicking is huge! Your post was a wonderful reminder that most times it isn’t just what we say but how we say it and why!! Thank you for another great reminder, Debbie. When I was first writing health articles I submitted one on adrenal fatigue to a local magazine about adrenal issues. It had to be approved by the doctor affiliated with them. He (like many conventional doctors) didn’t believe it was really an issue and ripped me apart! It was probably the nastiest email I ever got – he said I should never be allowed to write about health again! Well normally something like that would’ve crushed me – but I knew what I wrote was true and I found another expert who was gracious enough to allow me to interview her and the article ran in a different magazine. But his message could’ve changed the course of my life if I’d let it.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ann, when people act like that it is hard not to return in kind. Good for you for pressing on. I for one benefit from your wise words.

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