Being critical is easy. Point out the flaws. Find out the gaps. Look for the errors in logic. Especially with perspective and experience, almost anyone can pull another’s work into shreds. As I listened to the discussion unfold, the weaknesses were easy to spot. While I could sense effort that had gone into the work, I could also see the compromises and vision that was focused on a narrow set of problems. There was so much more than could and should be said.
As I gathered my facts and logic, I caught myself looking at the hearts and minds of the individuals sitting around the table. I like this community! It is full of interesting people. Their views include vistas I cannot see or even imagine. There is a wonderful mix of potential represented.
What was/is the purpose of being critical? Did I think they would see my comments as helpful? Would my words be used in any positive way?
The questions morphed into a simple one. Did I want this group to win or lose?
Oddly enough, I do not always see God as wanting me to win. Each time I find myself in this space, I am reminded that God says I am priceless. Why would God waste something that is priceless? One writer reminds me of the obvious that I keep forgetting; “I write this, dear children, to guide you out of sin. But if anyone does sin, we have a Priest-Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus.” (1 John 2.1) God is on our side.
I am on my community side. This calls me to be part of a solution. In every action I should be trying to lighten the load, not increase it. I should attempt to help, not hinder. I can be a voice of hope, not despair.
It is an invitation into more. I can ask for help while offering to share their load. I can make a difference in their lives while inviting them into mine. We are in this together.