5 unexpected rewards by ditching a critical spirit

Whatever attitudes or habits you need to “fast” why not substitute attitudes or habits that will restore or increase your joy, creativity, positive relationships, mercy, and love.

woman with hands bowed in prayer

What is fasting?

Lent is the season in the Christian calendar that precedes Easter. Many Christians do something to observe this time as a spiritual refresher, like fasting , or refraining from, from a certain food or drink. I’ve heard of people “giving up” a range of things during Lent, like television, video games, social media, news, sports, or music. Some people “take up” a certain practice, like prayer, Bible study, or service projects.

man with hands folded over a book
“meditation of my heart” photo from Lightstock.com– stock photo source (affiliate link)

 

A “critical” lesson

One of most interesting examples of fasting I’ve heard of was from the late Catherine Marshall. Mrs. Marshall wrote a memoir about her husband, Peter Marshall who served as Chaplain of the United States Senate. She also wrote a memoir, novels, and devotional books. (see links below)

In a story reprinted in Spiritual Classics, Catherine realized she was too critical, tending to judge people and situations harshly and negatively.

 

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others.The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. 

Matthew 7 :1-2 New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

(The word “judge” used here is analogous to “criticise.”)

So she felt her “assignment” from God was:

“For one day I was to go on a “fast” from criticism. I was not to criticize anybody about anything.”

At lunch with her family that day several topics came up that she had definite negative opinions about but she stayed silent. Even though she felt lost without her usual sharp interaction, she said no one else seemed to notice.

“The federal government, the judicial system, the the institutional church could apparently get along fine without my penetrating observations.”

She thought about a young man she knew whose life had gotten “sidetracked”, and suddenly realized her negative attitude toward him wasn’t helping. As she began thinking about him in a more positive way, she saw ways that his life could be turned around that she had not considered before.

Her new attitude seemed to create an ability to see a new vision for his life that she hadn’t been able to before.

5 unexpected rewards by ditching a critical spirit

 

 

 

She related 5 things that she learned about a critical attitude.

  1. It focuses us on ourselves and makes us unhappy.
  2. It can distort our perspective and destroy humor.
  3. It blocks positive creative thoughts God will give us about situations.
  4. It impairs relationships with other people, perhaps causing them to be critical also.
  5. It blocks feelings of  love, good will, and mercy from  God’s Spirit.

Whatever attitudes or habits you need to “fast” why not substitute attitudes or habits that will restore or increase your joy, creativity, positive relationships, mercy, and love.

Other posts from this blog based on the Sermon on the Mount include

Opportunities to do good

The surprising blessing of discomfort

How to be blessed, happy, and healthy

How to satisfy hunger and thirst

resources for this post

The story about Catherine Marshal is told in

Spiritual Classics- Selected Readings on the Twelve Spiritual Disciplines.

 

 

 Books by Catherine Marshall 
– find more at this link

 

These are all affiliate links, this blog earns a small commission for purchases here.

that I might seek to love-St. Francis quote

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This post was shared at

Woman to Woman Ministries

three things will last forever-

faith, hope, and love.

1 Corinthians 13:13

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           Dr. Aletha 

Author: Aletha Cress Oglesby, M.D.

I am a family physician who explores the HEART of HEALTH in my work, recreation, and through writing. On my blog, Watercress Words, I inform and inspire us in healthy living. I believe we can turn our health challenges into healthy opportunities. When we do, we can then share the HEART of health with our families, communities, and the world. Come explore and share with me.

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