In a world where scorching accusations and sweltering criticisms are the norm, love and affirmation are like a refreshing drink on a hot day. I was about three people deep in line at a local drug store. The person checking out ahead of me was not happy about something. They actually walked up to the cashier in a huff and criticized the clerk for being so slow. The cashier politely apologized and asked if they had a rewards card and explained that the item was half off if you had a rewards card. The customer barked back, “Just ring me up, can’t you see I am in a hurry?!” The customer turned to look at the line of us, rolled their eyes and with pursed lips shook their head. The cashier then asked if they needed a bag. That set the customer off as they expressed their feelings about being charged for the bag, that the item they were purchasing was too expensive, and continued to complain about the disrespectful service. All of us in line were very uncomfortable and relieved as the person stormed out of the store.
The cashier was visibly shaken. Gaining composure, they asked for the next in line. The person stepped up and while looking the cashier in the eyes apologized for what they went through and complimented the cashier for how they handled the incident. The heat of the accusations and criticisms where squelched with cool kudos from a kind person. A smile came over the cashier’s face and you could see the kind words encouraged them. The Bible affirms this loving, kind behavior:
Proverbs 16:24 Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:4 A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
As each of us stepped up to make our purchase, we followed the example of this kind customer and sought to affirm and encourage the cashier. What a difference when there is more love and less criticism! Sure, there is a place for thinking critically and sharing some helpful assessments, but always in the spirit love. The Bible goes on to challenge us to have more love and less criticism:
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,
Ephesians 4:15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ,
2 Timothy 2:24-25a 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness.
I walked out of that store with a challenge to be more like the nice, kind customer, not the critical one. What about you? Let’s not add to the heat of negative conversation, but express more love and less criticism. Let’s smile more and say kind things, and even throw out a few more affirmations. Your brief, kind words could be the best part of someone else’s day!
I have learned a lot about kindness from hanging around kind people. Church has a great concentration of kind people and is a good place to be challenged to love more. If you do not already attend a church, we would love to invite you to Cypress Church or one of our branch churches. Our web site has all the information for all our campuses: www.cypresschurch.net .
Seeking to share more love and less criticism along with you,