Thursday, 17 March 2011

Am I Building Up or Tearing Down

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to (his/her husband/wife)…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 4:25,29

Are husbands/wives one of God’s primary vehicles for helping to change and mold their spouse into the image of His Son? If so, when does speaking the truth become nagging and when is it encouraging? When does “constructive” criticism do harm and when does it have the potential to produce growth?

In addition to His Word, I believe that husbands and wives are one of God’s primary means for shaping us into the persons He wants us to be, like a potter molding clay. Sometimes we say something to our husbands / wives in an attempt to be helpful, at other times what we say is hurtful, and at other times what we say is disguised as being helpful when our intent is to wound or get our own way.

So, how do we know the difference? How do we discern what our real intent is? I think Nicky Gumbel of Alpha fame has a great suggestion. He says if when you feel the need to share something that could be construed as being of a critical or constructive nature and you find it hard to say – then it is probably the truth and it should be said. If on the other hand you feel the need to share something that could be construed as being of a critical or constructive nature and you sense that it will give you pleasure to share your critique - then you should back off. Your motivation is not Biblical but driven by your own desires or pettiness.

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