I felt the sharp point pierce my skin and then dig deeper still. My stomach sank to my feet and my head began to spin silently, as the barbed hook of criticism (the non-construtive sort) lodged itself in to my heart. It wasn’t that it was a very big hook, it just was that it hit me in a tender spot and triggered a pain that rippled through out my body. Critical words, whether big or small, direct or indirect, hurt.
Regretfully, as much as I have experienced the pointed jab of criticism, I have cast the hooked line myself and injured others. I hate that. It humbles me. It makes me sad.
I don’t know why we do it. Part of our sinful humanness, I guess. Perhaps it’s to prove to ourselves that we are “okay.” We fear being inadequate and so we try to elevate ourselves by injuring others. It’s been said that “hurt people hurt people.” I think that is true. Or maybe our words are a flowing over of years of fermenting bitterness or a reenactment of what we experienced somewhere in our past. I’m sure there are a million reasons. I wish I understood it better, both for my protection on the receiving and delivering end.
Thinking back to when I was working as a PA, I recalled that when a person came in to the office with a fish hook in their finger the procedure to remove it would be to continue to push the hook through. Pulling it back out through the direction from which it came, was difficult and even more painful. Following the arch of the hook and moving the point forward, until the hook was out, was the best way to remove it.
So, I’ve been pushing through and working out a hook over the past couple of days. The gentle hand of God is helping me. I’m trying to use His truths about Himself, about me and about His plan for me, to help wiggle the criticism out. I am feeling more at peace, and learning to depend on Him more, in new ways. He is releasing me, slowly but surely, from the injurious effects, and also gently reminding me of the pain that my own barbed words of criticism can cause. In the end, I now see how He is taking this time to further grow me and change me. Again.
Dear Lord, Thank you for your faithfulness in helping us in all circumstances. When we are hurt by others, please help us to see the truth and trust you for all things in the process. Help us to be sensitive to where others are, to watch our words, to encourage and build up rather than discourage and tear apart. If we have hurt others, help us to be bold to seek forgiveness and seek to restore the relationship. Thank you for being gracious and merciful to us. Amen