Faith & Insight: Encourage or criticize

One of the things that I tire of in political seasons is the constant criticizing and tearing down that goes on between candidates, especially in the presidential race. Seems like whatever the subject of the day is, there is something and someone to criticize.

People often ask why there is so much of this negativism and “dirt” in politics and the answer I hear often is, “Because it is effective.” Tearing down of the other guy, whether it is the truth or not, is thought to be effective in advancing one’s own position.

The Bible directs followers of Jesus in an opposite direction; instead of criticizing and tearing down, we are to seek to be a people who encourage and build others up.

The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church exhorting them with this principle:

“Let all things be done for edification” (for the building up and strengthening of the church.) ~ 1Corinthians 14:26

And to the Ephesians he wrote, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” ~ Ephesians 4:29

Again to the Thessalonian church: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in you are doing.” ~ 1Thessalonians 5:11

I believe this principle is a valuable and worthy guide for our thoughts and conversation: Seek to “build up” not to “tear down.” Look for the good and encourage it. Look for the good in your spouse and encourage. Look for the good in your kids and encourage and seek to build them up in it. Be an encourager to your friends and co-workers.

I pray we will understand and embrace God’s wisdom and walk it out in our lives.

Louis J. Locke is founding pastor of Fountainhead Foursquare Church.


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