Have you ever been stabbed in the back by someone intent on doing you in, bringing you down, ruining your reputation? What a painful experience!

 

If you find yourself going after other people in a sarcastic and critical way, take a long look at your own life. The New Testament warns us in a highly specific way to stop belittling and disparaging others because it leads to hurt, anger and division.

 

Sarcasm, what Paul refers to as "cattiness," is a form of underhanded anger expression. People who underhandedly express their anger try to score put-down points without taking responsibility for their actions. This kind of anger mismanagement is sometimes difficult to catch, but when you look for it-in yourself or in others-you quickly become aware of its devastating power and its consistently negative results.

 

If you realize that you are occasionally or regularly critical and catty, take a thorough inventory of your internal world. Check to see how deeply loved you have allowed yourself to be, how right your relationship with God is. Search to see if there are unresolved hurts that may be causing your anger to spill out onto others. If this is the case, take whatever action is necessary to ensure healing.

 

For instance, see if there is a pattern to your criticism. If you find yourself thinking that other people are "showoffs" and "desperate for attention, " see if that might be one of your own issues. Or if you are hostile toward people who don't remember you even after they have been introduced to you several times, check yourself for the same problem. I frequently find that I criticize people for what I find most frustrating about myself.

 

Only after a careful internal inventory should you criticize the other person, the target of your barbed remarks. It may be that the individual has deficiencies that need to be addressed. If so, proceed only if your motivations are right-to help, support, and encourage-and keep your discussion positive. Remember that we're all in this game of life together. We are trying the best we know how to become healthy individuals, friends, and partners.

 

But if instead of showing love among yourselves you are always critical and catty, watch out! Beware of ruining each other.

Galatians 5:15


Excerpted from "God Said It, Don't Sweat It."


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