Job. Critical Eye.

If you were to describe your personal outlook on life, what would it be? Are you generally pleased with what you see? Do you view everything (and everyone) through the lens of, shall we say, making improvements? Hmmm? 

A recent article by Maurilio Amorim got me thinking about this. And I confess to suffering from The Critical Eye. Things may be good, but they could be better.  And I know just how to get ‘er done.

My husband will confirm this, if pressed. Or just casually asked.

Amorim writes: “Constantly scanning the world for the negative comes with a great cost. It undercuts our creativity, raises our stress levels, and lowers our ability to accomplish goals.”

I’m not thrilled with this information. Of course, we (people like me – you know how you are) would not describe ourselves as negative. Rather, we are constructive. Making things better. Mending. Reforming. Enhancing.

Right.

As I read through the Book of Job, I cringe at the constructiveness of his “comforters,” which is a ridiculous description of these men who Won’t Shut Up. A favorite commentary describes them variously as “accusing, mocking, reproachful, rude.” Criticizers on steroids.

Maybe we’re not that critical, but I suspect we’ve all been close.

Borrowing from Amorim, here are some questions for when we feel an Attack of Disapproval coming on:

Have I considered the positive?  Regardless of the circumstances, there is always something to commend. And not as backhanded compliments, either. Job’s friends do this repeatedly throughout the book. And it’s cruel.

Do I have a servant’s heart?  If changes need to be made, help find solutions.  Rather than simply dwelling on some real or perceived misstep, sometimes it would be more useful to send someone after the livestock thieves (1:45-15).

Am I kind?  For those times when corrections should be suggested (or must be made), our words are to be seasoned with grace.  Job’s friends heaped up words against him. (16:4) Pitilessness and harshness? Let’s not participate in the shame of such things.

So, switch lenses. Grace for criticism. Lovingkindness (what a great word!) for dissatisfaction. Hopefully, we will increase our creativity, lower our stress levels, and enlarge our ability to accomplish our goals.

Job would be proud.

How would you describe yourself as being a critical person? More importantly, would others describe you this way? Would asking the questions above help in tweaking your perspective?

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Kari antonetti on May 1, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Thanks Debra! A great reminder for me. Actually, more like a bullseye on the canvis of what the lord is teaching me…. In EVERYTHING read. 🙂

    Reply

  2. It’s not as if we look for the negative, Debra. It just rises so majestically before us. What’s a person to do?

    Reply

  3. In light of your excellent article, sister Debra, may I note that I see nothing negative about it. Or does that imply that I was looking? Yikes. There’s no escape!

    Reply

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