Never Vilify Your Friends and Neighbors

Three nearby churches on a hot summer day had their windows open and were trying to outsing the others. The Baptists were singing, “Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown?” Then the Presbyterians began singing, “No, Not One. No, Not One.” And the Methodists began singing “Oh, That Will Be Glory for Me.”

All humor aside it’s not fun to be put down or criticized.  When we are criticized and maligned our natural inclination is to do the same. As Christians, however, we are instructed to do the opposite. When provoked, we are not supposed to talk about someone behind their back. Instead, we are to bless them.

The word “bless” literally means “speak well of”. We ask God to bless people, but did you know that you yourself can actually bless a person? You can bless people by the way you talk about them. When someone ridicules you and puts you down, speak well of them. George Washington Carver said, “I will never allow another man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.”  

While we can’t control what others say about us, we can control what we say in response. That’s what God will hold us accountable for. When somebody criticizes another, the other person shouldn’t go around bad-mouthing him. Instead, bless him. Find something you can approve of in their life. To find a reason to criticize is easy–anyone can do that. To find a reason to affirm can require a bit more creativity.

James 4:11a NIV – “Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law (God’s Moral law) and judges it.”

If you are a follower of Christ, you don’t have any business judging one another. There is a higher walk in this life: bless don’t curse. For what a man sows that shall he also reap.


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