Calling Others Higher
Have you ever been criticized by someone? Perhaps they thought they were just pointing out your sin and they were trying to help you, but instead you just felt worse after their comments towards you? It doesn’t feel good when others tear you apart or condemn you because of something you did, does it?
There is something beautiful that happens when we as God’s children handle a situation how we know He would, which is with grace, kindness and love. When God comes to discipline me or correct my sin, He does it in a loving manner. He does it with conviction, not condemnation, because He knows if He were to make me feel worse about the situation, it wouldn’t lead to transformation. But when He loves me and shows me my true identity and who He has called me to be, it brings healing and change.
How often do we do the exact opposite with the people in our life, though? We speak words of criticism instead of love? We tear down instead of build up? We condemn instead of speaking truth? Whether it’s a near and dear friend or a complete stranger, transformation won’t happen when heartless and unkind words are spoken.
Let’s share some examples.
Say your husband hasn’t purchased flowers for you in over a year and that bothers you. You could either tell him how disappointed you are with him over the situation or you could call him up higher by explaining how much it means to you when he takes the effort to do so. Which response do you think will lead to transformation?
What about the friend who complains about everything and only focuses on the cup being half empty? You could approach her and criticize her bad attitude or you could take a few minutes to call her up higher, telling her the things you love about her as well as sharing with her the positive things she does have going on in her life. You could take time to explain to her that you know it would help her if she focused on those things. Which one do you think will lead to transformation?
What about the person who is blinded to the truth that God created all colors in men and women and whether black, white, Hispanic or Indian there is beauty to be found? You could call them racist or you could remind them of truth, by pointing them to scripture and telling them that every son and daughter is made in the image of God. Which one do you think will lead to transformation?
What about the friend who is flaunting herself all over social media? You could approach them by telling they are being flashy and pretentious and that God is probably disappointed in their actions or you could remind them of their identity — that they are God’s beloved, that He sees them as worthy and beautiful and that He is the only one that will satisfy any desire they have. Which one do you think will lead to transformation?
I have been thinking about this a lot lately… how beautiful it would be if God’s children called each other higher, focusing on how God sees us and pointing each other in the direction of our identity in Him?
Because God has a sense of humor, as it was deep on my heart, I found myself in a situation where I was the one being called up higher.
Recently, a friend of mine called me and brought something to my attention that I hadn’t even noticed. She could have just texted me with angry words, calling me a hypocrite. But instead she emulated Christ when she called me, shared in a very loving way her thoughts, positioning me to recognize my mistakes and sin. Beautiful, right? And guess what? It led to transformation! I was able to repent and ask for forgiveness from both her and God.
I am sharing this topic because it’s a deep work the Father is doing in me. I will be the first to admit that I haven’t always done this well. There have been seasons in my life when I was very quick to condemn and very slow to call up higher. But it’s something that God is reminding me of and I hope He reminds you of too.
If we want to see transformation and unity in our life and the lives of others it’s going to start when we love others by encouraging them and building them up. What situations are you facing that you could speak the truth in love? Instead of talking down on others, what if you took time to call them up higher and help them see their true identity as a son or daughter in Christ?
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29
“Winsome words spoken at just the right time are as appealing as apples gilded in gold and surrounded with silver. To humbly receive wise correction adorns your life with beauty and makes you a better person. A reliable, trustworthy messenger
refreshes the heart of his master, like a gentle breeze blowing at harvest time— cooling the sweat from his brow.” Proverbs 25:11-13