Spell check, why do you remember my mistakes?
Have you ever accidentally typed the wrong word into your computer? From then on spell check keeps trying to change a perfectly spelled word into a misspelled word.
Here is an explanation. The letter E and the letter R are directly next to each other on the keyboard. All it took was one distraction for me to type in two of the letter E. From then on, spell check has misspelled my name.
Now, it takes twice as long for me to simply type my name. The computer takes my name and tries to correct it to a misspelled version of my name. I have to constantly correct the original mistake.
Have your words ever been twisted?
Do you ever feel that way in life? Some people, in our spheres of influence, love nothing more than to point out mistakes. Do you know someone who is constantly trying to change the way you look, act, walk, talk, or live? You probably walk on egg shells around those people.
I know of one woman who dreads holiday gatherings because her brother knit-picks her. Another man I know stays away from one of his children because his adult child tries to parent him. You could have a problem with a sibling, an adult child, a spouse, a co-worker, or a neighbor who constantly criticizes you. The results are the same- strained relationships, resentment, fear, and dread.
Correction versus criticism:
When we were children, it was up to our parents to correct us and keep us on the correct path. However, as adults, we no longer need to be picked apart, constantly criticized, daily condemned, or parented. We can live life in freedom. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, despite what others may say (Psalm 139).
Some corrections are necessary, like food in your teeth or a spot on your pants. Other corrections are not needed. None of us need to hear about every mistake we made when we spoke to someone at the grocery store. We probably already feel dumb enough without other people pointing out our failures.
One lady I know is in a terribly verbally abusive situation, due to her husband’s brain tumor. Another lady I know is experiencing verbal abuse because her husband refuses to take his medications for Bipolar disorder. Both women are staying with these men due to the children they have together. I wish I could tell these women how valuable they are and how much better off their children would be if they would have enough strength to leave until their husbands could get necessary medical help.
Another woman I know, who reads this blog, was strong and smart. She removed herself from a verbally abusive situation and later found a good mate who treats her like she deserves to be treated. Her ex-husband has been through many other women since. His ways never changed and she would have suffered if she had stayed with him.
Be there for your condemned friend.
Do you know someone who is weighed down by the burden of a critical mate? Remind your friend that no matter what their critical mate says, they are valued, worthy, and loved. If your friend accidentally said or did something dumb, remind that person that misspeaking is not sin.
True sins, however, can be forgiven. Hurting a person’s feelings or responding to a demeaning person with sarcasm can be confessed and then forgiven.
Your friend, who is daily being criticized and maligned, can hold on to some specific verses as they go through this trying situation. When your friend is being repeatedly questioned and interrogated, remind your friend that he/ she is free and forgiven.
- 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
- Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”
These two verses do not mean we can sin anytime we want and get by with it. Watch the critical person to see their view on sin. Many times the very person criticizing your friend is knee-deep in his/her own sin yet unwilling to admit it. The mate who is critical is probably quick to quote verses about applying grace to his/her own sin, yet they refuse to acknowledge that your friend is free and forgiven too.
My spell check scenario was a silly comparison to some of the horror stories I have heard of people being verbally berated. I once led a Bible study for two women who were fearful of going home to their husbands. The husbands would bring up the same things again and again. Yet, when these two women asked their husbands about their internet usage and television viewing, the men would say that God forgives and all is covered by grace.
It was interesting that the very word (grace) these men threw around so haphazardly was the thing they refused to give. Another interesting fact about these two men is that they came to church because they wanted to be around their family. At home the men never picked up their Bibles or sought God’s will about anything. The men simply wanted to be seen and heard but they did not want their wives to live in peace.
Before we conclude, please remember that physical abuse should never be tolerated. Click here to read more.
- Pray for your friend.
- Help your verbally abused friend get counseling.
- Be there to listen to your friend.
- Remind your friend to stand strong when their accuser is twisting words and picking your friend apart.
- Point your friend to verses, such as Isaiah 1:18, Luke 5:20, or Ephesians 2:4-5.