In college I somehow managed to pick up a smattering of knowledge of how God’s physical laws work, but I am here to tell you, in spite of anything you may learn about the laws of gravity, velocity, and mass: an ounce of criticism has more impact than a pound of encouragement.
I once heard a Christian speaker assert that we are all creatures who take to heart anything negative, while discounting the positive feedback we get.
I had to admit, at least in my own experience, he is absolutely right. I can easily have my day switched from sunshine to gloom by an offhand unflattering remark.
We might express this tendency to feel the downward pull of criticism more powerfully than the buoyancy of encouragement in scientific terms with an equation: criticism is equal to or greater than encouragement squared.
Or we could compare the lingering effects of a critical comment with an aroma: The essence of Eau de Skunk remains long after the fragrance of the most expensive perfumes.
Perhaps a visual image is better: one drop of ink from a leaky pen can resist many of the strongest stain removers.
What foolish creatures we are to allow the smallest unflattering comment, no matter where it comes from, to outweigh the encouragement we receive.
In our “post first and think later” world of social media, there is no limit to the criticism and outright abuse heaped upon strangers, inflicting emotional pain without a qualm in hopes gaining a virtual following.
Critical remarks are powerful and heavy, we have a responsibility to be careful where we use them, not tossing them casually, or even humorously, in any direction that may cause damage.
Since we seldom really see what burdens another person is struggling under, we can’t always know who might be brought to their knees by the weight of even a small criticism added thoughtlessly to their load.
9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of ChristPhilippians 1:9-10
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters! Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.James 1:19