Choose to be an everyday encourager

By Steve Greene

We have been talking about how easy it is to be a faultfinder.

The Pharisees were massive faultfinders. These were the Jewish leaders who strictly observed the law and wanted to make sure everyone else did the same. They were some of the most self-righteous, arrogant people around.

Nobody wants to be identified with the Pharisees. These guys were the religious snobs of Jesus’ day. They looked down their noses and made life miserable for everyone. Nobody measured up in their eyes.

What is it that motivates us to be faultfinders? There are several contributing factors to criticism, but pride, insecurity and ignorance would likely top the list.

Pride causes us to think we know what is best for everyone else. We tend to criticize in others what we are most insecure about in ourselves. We often criticize in others what we attempt to justify in ourselves. Sometimes, in our ignorance, we criticize things we know nothing about.

Don’t you love to hear people who have never had a child criticize someone else for their parenting? Critics tend to think they are smarter than everybody else. Faultfinders are often arrogant, insecure, mean-spirited people. That is the description of a Pharisee.

With God’s help, I am learning to overcome a critical spirit. Instead of choosing to be a faultfinder, I want to learn to be more of an encourager. The Apostle Paul was a great encourager. He was about building people up, not tearing them down.

He was not going to let any unwholesome talk come out of his mouth but only that which was helpful for building life into other people. Like Paul, we all get to choose for ourselves. Will I choose to be a faultfinder? Or do I want to be an everyday encourager?

Please allow me to issue a word of caution. Faultfinding is easy. Criticism is like cancer. You may have no idea what your criticism is doing to your spouse, your child, that person you love. Consistent criticism tears down self-esteem, and it destroys intimacy in relationships.

When you belittle your children and constantly put them down, you are damaging the relationship and creating distance that will show up in a variety of ways. Criticism doesn’t make you look better. It doesn’t make you seem smarter. It makes you look insecure and mean-spirited.

But God can use your one word of encouragement to change someone’s life. When you speak the best about others, God can use your words to encourage and build them up.

Steve Greene is the lead pastor of The Point in Seymour. Read his blog at or email him at [email protected] Send comments to [email protected]