Okay, ready to begin this Five C Challenge? Let’s start with Criticism.

Criticize: to censure or find fault with. 

Why is this so easy to do at Christmas time? I think it’s because during the holidays, we have heightened expectations. There’s a RIGHT way to do everything at Christmastime! Which means there’s also a WRONG way. Such as…

  • There is a wrong way to hang the Christmas lights.
  • A wrong way to wrap a gift.
  • A wrong way to dress for a Christmas party.
  • And a wrong way to open gifts on Christmas morning.

Is anyone is wondering what that right or wrong way is? Just as the Control Girl. She’d be happy fill you in, and let you know all of the ways you messed something up, didn’t do something right, or completely interrupted her plans for the perfect Christmas.

But critical Control Girls have a way of squelching Christmas cheer, not spreading it. That’s why, during this Five C Challenge, we’re guarding against using critical words.

no criticizing v

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Because I’m trying to make everything turn out RIGHT at Christmas, I become far too critical. But by criticizing, I only push my loved ones away, rather than pulling them in close. Here’s an example.

One year, on the day after Thanksgiving, I became intensely irritated with my husband, Ken, who was sitting in his recliner while I tried to set up the Christmas tree. “Are you just going to sit there, while I do all the work?” I asked.

He got up, muttering about this being one of his only days off, and came to help me straighten the tree; the same tree which he had cut down that very morning, after a fun outing to the Christmas tree farm with our kids. But I wasn’t thinking about the right things he had done that day; I was thinking about the wrongs ones.

I was also thinking about how little time we had, before we needed to rush off dinner and the Christmas play we were planning to see with extended family that evening. Again, I wasn’t thinking about the way my husband planned to bless our family with an evening out; I was focused on the way he was sitting down (how dare he?) while I did all the work!

“Come on! You’re not even trying to get it straight!” I said. “Can you please help me???” At this point, Ken announced that he needed to leave and run some errands – which is code for, I’m about to lose it with you and I need some space.

I followed him out to his car, letting my critical tongue continue to slash at him. “You never help! You expect me to do everything! Fine, then! I’ll just do it all without you!!!  I pounded the front of his car for emphasis, as he began to back out of the garage.

I don’t recall any of the good memories that day. Only working up an angry sweat as I lugged all of the Christmas bins down the attic ladder – a task that Ken would have been more than happy to help with, if not for my harsh, critical words.

By grasping for control, I shattered the potential of a fun, festive afternoon. By cutting him down with critical words, I had pushed my husband away.

Criticism’s Lie

Criticism is so tempting because it promises the power of control. And criticism is powerful, isn’t it? I’m sure you’e noticed how – with only a few slashing words, you can cut someone down to size and get them to do what you want. Critical words have power. Words like:

  • Look at that hair! Have you washed it this week! We’re headed to Grandma’s for Christmas dinner!
  • Why would you start this project now? Look at the mess you’ve made! Our guests will be here in a half hour!
  • Johnny, did you get your sister a gift yet? I still remember how shocked I was that you forgot to get her something last year!

The Truth about Criticism

Let’s be honest. Criticism does offer you a moment of control over, but only because the person you’re criticizing feels small, ashamed, or hurt. Then when your critical words wear off, the last thing this person you’ve criticized wants is to be close to you. They want to pull away. Critical, controlling words might give you power over a moment, but they rob you of your relationships and influence, over time.

Proverbs 21:18 says, “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts. But the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

If you have been a critical Control Girl, let the days during this Five C Challenge be a time of healing. Use wise words instead. Words that uplift and encourage. Words that draw your loved ones closer, rather than pushing them away.

Jesus, as we celebrate your birthday, help us to be women who use healing words, not harsh, critical ones. May we be women who use our influence to encourage those we love, not cut them down. Lord Jesus, we believe that You alone are in control. Help our words to reflect this! 

Friend, during this Five C Challenge, let’s stop criticizing and start surrendering control to God. If this makes a difference, in your relationships, workplace, or home, will you let me know? I’d love to hear about it. Share a comment, or send me a personal message and let me know how. I’d love to rejoice with you over God’s good work in your life.

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