“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” Ephesians 4:29 (NIV) / Pixabay
I’ve been given the gift of seeing life through a critical eye. It’s allowed me to create balance with color in my artwork, improve writing by discovering hidden mistakes and places that need revising, and to analyze my students’ work to determine where my teaching had fallen short. Even decorating my home is easier with a critical eye, as it enables me to know just where to hang things on the wall without the need of a tape measure or level. My favorite thing about seeing through a critical eye? I think it’s that my view of the world around me comes in bits and pieces, minute details that can be easily missed. Recognizing those little nuances gives me a greater appreciation for the intricacies of nature, helps me perceive unspoken needs and emotions in those around me, and often it offers me a clear vision when problem solving. Sounds great doesn’t it?
Recently, my eyes were opened to recognize how blind I really am! You see, as positive as my critical eye may be, it also can plunge me into the dark, short-sighted practice of criticism. And while hearing that wasn’t easy and as much as I wanted to defend myself, I’m ashamed to say I know it’s true. I’m not sure where it comes from, insecurity I suppose, but it’s way too easy for my critical eye to focus on and pick apart the most insignificant things in others: the way they dress, their manner of speech, what they do or don’t do, and unfortunately the list goes on. In hindsight, I recognize, however unintentional it’s been, being blinded by my critical eye has caused me to hurt those I care most about. In diagnosing my critical eye blindness, I’ve bumped into another realization: the vision I have of myself is also blurred. As hard as I am on those around me, I’m even harder on myself. I tend to set my sight on my imperfections, mistakes, and failures until those are all I see. Maybe you can relate.
So what’s a blind critical eyed gal to do? I read some very wise words this week over at http://www.CindyKrall.com
She wrote, “Self-talk can be empowering or defeating. Many of us are careful about what we say with regards to others, but we can fall short when it comes to the way we treat ourselves. This verse (“No longer will there be any curse.” Revelation 22:3) reminds me that we can “curse” ourselves, sometimes without meaning to. Christ nailed those kind of curses to the cross as well.”
I think Cindy’s words apply not only to what we say, but to what we see in ourselves and in others, as well.
“No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, it is put on a lamp stand to give light to all who enter the room. You eye is a lamp for your body. A pure eye lets sunshine into your soul. But an evil eye shuts out the light and plunges you into darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not really darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight is shining on you.” Luke 11:33-36 (NLT)
Christ! The One who nailed curses to the cross, caused the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, and is the same One who came so the Blind. Could. See. I can’t navigate this life with the limited sight I have on my own. Fixing my eyes on God, trying to see things from His point of view, is the only way to cure my vision problem.
I’m not big on making resolutions, however…. not just for the new year but for life, I want to resolve to use my critical eye to see the intricacies of others and myself the way God sees us; no longer looking for ways to tear down but instead, with loving eyes, to shine a light that encourages and uplifts! It will take work, patience, and a lot of prayer (yours are appreciated); but hopefully, I’ll be seeing more clearly very soon!
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind but now, I See!