The Critic And The Criticized

Does anyone remember that incredible old saying that we used to hear when we were growing up? The one that said, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Of course our mothers would usually tell us that one when we would mouth off to them and we totally hated it BUT if you really think about it, it’s kinda great “rule”. Our mom’s knew what was up. They knew that if we could just keep our (mostly rude) opinions to ourselves we wouldn’t end up hurting anyone’s feelings and in turn, wouldn’t feel bad about what we said. It’s a win-win. Sometimes I wish we still had our mothers follow us around every day so when we go to freely give someone our opinion, or tweet something rude to someone, or rudely blog about someone we don’t even know, that our sweet mothers could be there and say, right before we hit that send button, “Now remember, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all…. Oh, you’ll thank me later.” And then, like the good kids that we are, we would delete it or oh so wonderfully, close our mouths. And let’s just admit it, the world really would be a happier place.

Now you’re probably wondering, “Oh my goodness, what did someone say that was so rude to Lauren that set her off?!” Surprisingly enough, no one said anything to me at all. But this has certainly been inspired and something that I’ve been thinking about for quite some time.

Yes, I’ve have been the one criticized but regretfully I’ve also been the critic.

When I was younger I thought the world needed to hear my opinion. I had the right to tell people they were wrong and that I was right. There was no such thing as “agreeing to disagree.” Telling people my opinion felt awesome. I felt free. And I was like, “Yeah! They will totally change their ways cause MY awesome opinion!” And of course I could make fun of someone cause like the good Christian I am, I was whispering behind their backs so they couldn’t hear me. No harm no foul, right? I couldn’t get away with that for too long cause God started to convict my heart. He asked me what good my (mostly negative) opinion would bring to people. Even if I thought or totally knew I was 100% right with my opinions what right did I have to come against someone if they didn’t ask what I thought? What good did me gossiping about someone behind their backs do for anyone? It took me about two seconds to realize that it didn’t bring anything good to anyone. My shaming someone never got them “saved” or made them change the way they did something. So, then it took me about two more seconds to realize that maybe I needed to learn how to keep my mouth closed. For someone fiery, mouthy and opinionated like me (I know, I’m quite the combo), that wasn’t a quick lesson to learn. I like to call that one my life lesson. Luckily I had an amazing family around me when I was growing up that could stop me and say, “Lauren, do you really want to be saying that?” They literally were my saving grace. And I eventually learned. I learned that even if I think someone is wearing a terrible outfit what right do I have to lean over to the person I’m with and make fun of the person in the bad outfit. For some reason it never computed in my brain that doing that is just really rude. I’m not even talking biblical principles here. This was just like me getting some common sense. Sure I might not like someone’s music, but that is their art, who am I to tell everyone else how much I hate it?! Ok, so my favorite sports team did a bad job so I’m about to get on twitter and rip them apart but then I think, if I tried doing what they did I would be annihilated and 6 feet under. So, maybe I should just keep my twitter trap snapped shut.

Think about the things we as this generation are facing. Bullying, cutting, suicide, anorexia, bulimia, depression, people don’t even want to come to church anymore cause all we do is point out everything that is wrong with them instead of loving them. What ever happened to, “but the greatest of these is love.” Jesus didn’t stone the prostitute when everyone else was ready to kill her. And out of everyone He was the only one who had the right to. He first told her that He didn’t condemn her, then He told her to “go and sin no more.” But first, it was love. And we don’t get to the place of being anorexic or wanting to kill ourselves for no reason. It was because we were made fun of. It was because someone at school or in our home told us we were fat or ugly or that no one wanted to be our friend. We get to those desperate places in our lives because of negative words. They pierce our hearts so deeply and they stick. All we want is to be loved and accepted and someone comes around and rejects us. And it hurts so deep.

Now, I know I walk a very fine line here. But if you have followed us girls for a while, you know my heart. Us girls have always been very vocal about what we believe in, but we never ever try to come across as condemning. We don’t preach that everyone needs to be what we are. We just are who we are and hope that people find inspiration from that.. I’m not saying sharing what you believe in is wrong at all. You know me, I’m all about standing up for what you believe in! I’m mainly talking about sharing our negative opinions with people. And if we do feel like our opinion is needed, we need to learn how to speak the truth in love.

So, what if we tried it? What if we tried to love? What if we challenged ourselves that even if we hate something so much and we want to shout if from the rooftops we stop, and ask ourselves what good will this bring? This is something small but even the other night, I went and saw a movie with my friends and I was about to jump on Twitter and say how lame the movie was but then, I thought for a second of how much it hurts my feeling when I read negative reviews about my music or when people say rude things about my sisters and I and I didn’t want to be that. Why would I want to tear someone down? And even though they would never read my silly tweet, it was still rude. I was convicted so I didn’t post it. This is my challenge to you and me for our Internet land life and our real life. I challenge you to not speak, text, tweet, facebook, or any way you can get your opinion out there on the internet, anything negative for the next week or more. I’d say for the rest of your and my life but perhaps that’s a bit overkill. Baby steps towards love, my friends, baby steps. When we learn this, I truly believe the world around us could change.

Love you guys!