Transforming the Critical Spirit
March 7, 2020
A teacher decided to honor each of her students by telling them the difference they had made in her life. Then she presented each of them with a blue ribbon that read “Who I Am Makes a Difference.” Afterward she decided to do a class project to see what kind of impact positive recognition would have on a community. She gave each of the students three more ribbons to go out and do the same for others. They were to follow up on the results, see who honored whom, and report back to the class.
One of the boys in the class went to a junior executive in a nearby company who had helped him with his career-planning project. The boy gave the junior executive a blue ribbon. Then he gave him two extra ribbons, and said, “We’re doing a class project on recognition, and we’d like you to go out and find somebody to honor. Give them a blue ribbon, then give them the extra ribbon so they can honor a third person. I’ll call you in a few days to see what happened.”
Later that day the junior executive went in to see his usually grouchy boss. He told his boss that he admired him for being a creative genius. The boss seemed very surprised. The junior executive asked him if he would accept the gift of the blue ribbon. His surprised boss said, “Well, sure.” As he gave him the last extra ribbon, he said, “Would you do me a favor? Would you take this extra ribbon and pass it on by honoring somebody else? The young boy who first gave me the ribbons is doing a project in school, and we want to keep this going and find out how it affects people.”
That night the boss came home to his 14-year-old son and sat him down. He said, “The junior executive came in and told me he admired me and gave me a blue ribbon for being a creative genius. Imagine. He thinks I’m a creative genius. Then he gave me this blue ribbon that says ‘Who I Am Makes a Difference’. He gave me an extra ribbon and asked me to find somebody to honor. As I was driving home tonight, I started thinking about whom I would honor with this ribbon and I thought about you.
“My days are really hectic, and when I get home I sometimes scream at you for not getting good enough grades in school and for your bedroom being a mess. But tonight I just want you to know that you do make a difference to me. Besides your mother, you are the most important person in my life. You’re a great kid, and I love you.”
“Thanks, Dad,” the boy managed quietly. “I was just thinking about whether or not it was even worth living, since I didn’t think I’d ever be able to please you and make you love me.”
Memory Text: “Blessed are those who keep justice, and he who does righteousness at all times!” (Psalm 106:3, NKJV).
Our Beliefs, no. 22, Christian Behavior: “We are called to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with biblical principles in all aspects of personal and social life. For the Spirit to recreate in us the character of our Lord we involve ourselves only in those things that will produce Christlike purity, health, and joy in our lives. This means that our amusement and entertainment should meet the highest standards of Christian taste and beauty. . . . We are to engage in whatever brings our thoughts and bodies into the discipline of Christ, who desires our wholesomeness, joy, and goodness.”
Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 24-27
Read Colossians 3:8-12.
You and your friends are teasing each other, calling each other names, talking about your lack of abilities in various areas, and about family members. Then someone says something that hits a little too close to home. Suddenly things get ugly; a physical fight is about to start. How do you defuse the situation? Should you call in an adult? Why or why not? What do you do to keep it from happening again?
Read 2 Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 2:4; 1 John 2:6.
In everything we do, we should be like Jesus. Only kindness and care should ever come from us in dealing with others. In every situation and interaction, the person(s) we are with should see Jesus in us—including our parents. Jesus always demonstrated love. His words were always kind and loving. This is evidence of whom we belong to and spend time with.
In what areas do you need the Holy Spirit’s help in transforming your critical spirit?
How can you display the love and kindness Jesus did when in a difficult situation?
Unscramble the following words and place them in the correct blank.
ttiamrios rhidecln oelv isleHmf feifngor srficeaic
“Therefore be of God as dear. And walk in, as Christ also has loved us and given for us, an and a to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:1, 2 NKJV).
Read Colossians 4:6.
“I was just joking.” How many times have you said that? A wise man once said that half of all jest is the truth. For Christians, half-truths won’t do. The put-downs, the comebacks, the wisecracks, the double messages have no place in the Christian’s life. Or in the life of anyone who is a member of the human race, for that matter. An organization called No Putdowns is dedicated to wiping out the practice.
On the organization’s website, put-downs and their destructive results are thoroughly analyzed. According to the organization, “putdowns take many forms, both verbal and nonverbal, including: dismissal or rejection, in the form of critical or slighting remarks; body language—rolled eyes, curled lip, shrugged shoulders, sneer; mimicking or mockery; words or actions used as weapons; self-putdowns; tone of voice, such as sarcasm or insincerity; stereotyping.” (For more information, visit www.noput downs.org.)
One way to get over our nasty human habit of besting each other with our tongues is to be careful of what we put into our brains. Since the way of the media is often to put people down and go for the negative, we have to be careful of what we watch, listen to, and read. We have to make a conscious effort to take in good stuff. Just as good food makes a strong body, good thoughts make a strong mind.
You’ve got to, as Philippians 4:9 says, “put it into practice” (NIV). And when you’ve gotten into the habit of filling your mind with the good, the good will come out in your speech and actions.
Fill in the blanks to discover what God wants us to know about “Transforming the Critical Spirit.”
1. “Let your be full of, seasoned with, so that you may know how to everyone” (Colossians 4:6, NIV).
2. “Whatever is, whatever is whatever is, whatever is, whatever is, whatever is—if anything is or—think about such things. . . . Put it into practice” (Philippians 4:8, 9, NIV).
3. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others according to needs, that it may benefit those who listen. . . . Get of all, and anger, brawling and, along with every form of. Be and to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s. . . . Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of, or of greed. . . . Nor should there be, or, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. . . . Be filled with the, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit” (Ephesians 4:29–5:19, NIV).
4. “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these:, rage, malice, slander, and filthy from your lips. Do not lie to each other. . . . Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly, clothe yourselves with compassion,,, and” (Colossians 3:8, 9, 12, NIV).
5. “Let your be to men. The Lord is at” (Philippians 4:5, NKJV).
Read Ephesians 4:29-32.
Review the memory text.
Are your mouth and your face getting you into trouble? Have your parents or other adults asked you to straighten your face, stop rolling your eyes, watch your mouth, adjust your attitude, or not talk to them in “that” tone of voice? And have you felt frustrated because you didn’t realize what you were doing? Just like anything else, changing these habits of responding will take some effort on your part. After all the devil loves to get us to give in to our human nature. You may have to spend some quiet time thinking about what you do and why you do it, then praying that the Spirit will help you come up with alternatives. God (and hopefully the adults and friends in your life) is willing to forgive and give you the strength to adopt new and more positive ways of communicating.
Read Philippians 4:8, 9.
Our society seems to honor the put-down. Over the next several hours, keep record of all the put-downs you hear and all the things that build others up. These can be from people you live with or what you hear in the media (TV, Internet, radio, magazines, or newspapers). Use the following chart to help you keep track. Put a star by the put-downs or buildups coming from your own lips. Whatever the ratio, ask God to help you eliminate put-downs and practice building others up. In fact, you can start by thinking of alternatives to the put-downs you have delivered or that you have heard. Remember, silence is always an option.
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