Criticism and Worship
[Guest post by Hannah Kallio: I especially appreciated this post from Hannah, because criticism is definitely something I am trying to work on myself. I’d rather worship in the right way!]
She Was the Worst. Worship Leader. Ever. (and I Was just like Her)
Have you ever read the Bible, and seen your best and worst reflected back at you?
That happened to me recently when I read Miriam’s story.
I hadn’t noticed how much Miriam and I had in common. Her finest moments were moments of worship:
Then the prophet Miriam…took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. And Miriam sang to them: “Sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider He has thrown into the sea.” Exodus 15:20-21
I picture her with her face flushed and eyes laughing, breathless from singing and dancing, but exhilarated. She looks like she was born for this.
Her worst moments were moments of criticism:
Miriam and and Aaron began to talk against Moses…”Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?”And the Lord heard this. Numbers 12:1-2
I see her jaw tighten, her eyes narrow… and my heart sinks as I recognize myself. Because her jealous, critical response has been so pervasive in my own life.
Here’s the thing: criticism and worship are two sides of the same coin. Both are about focusing intently on something, and calling attention to it. Worship is focusing on God and calling attention to what’s right about Him. Criticism is focusing on people and what’s wrong about them.
As a woman with a capacity to feel deeply, and a sensitivity to God’s Spirit, I’m hyper aware whenever anything isn’t what it could be. And without even realizing it, I can becoming a “worship leader” in my sphere of influence, for better or for worse. I’ve helped thousands of people redirect their attention to God. But I’ve also seen loved ones wither under my criticism, and become more critical themselves as a result.
Miriam’s challenge, and mine, is to take that keen awareness God has given me and direct it towards what’s right about Him, and spend myself magnifying that.
God is healing my critical spirit. When I find myself in a situation where I would normally respond with criticism, God is teaching me to redirect my focus by asking Him these questions:
How are you at work in this situation? What do you want me to notice?
How are you on display in this person’s life? What about you in them can I celebrate and focus on?
Realizing that criticism is misdirected worship empowers you to become a worship leader (in the best sense) in every conversation.
Who are you most critical of? What about them reminds you to worship God?
Hannah Kallio is a relentless kingdom treasure hunter. She mines God’s word for truth, and helps women discover treasure in God, in themselves, and in their families. She loves the one man, five kids, and crazy story God’s writing in her life even more than palm trees, ancient ruins, and deepest dark chocolate. Download her favorite free tool for having a powerful quiet time (without getting up earlier) at: http://hannahkallio.org/this-is-for-you/