Eric's Sunday Sermon; To Lift Someone UP, Including Yourself
What is a family farm without a water buffalo?
Opposites teach us.
Words of encouragement are blessed words. Words of criticism can be but are usually not blessed words. Most encouraging words come from the heart while most critical words come from the brain. So we suggest that we encourage when we are feeling something and we criticize when we are thinking something. We say that love comes from the heart and that is what we are talking about here. But make no mistake criticism can come from the heart and encouragement from the brain. Strange as it may sound I find that most negative criticism comes from the heart and most constructive criticism comes from the brain.
And so I tell you flatly that negative criticism normally is more about how the criticizer is feeling than about what is being critiqued. Joy filled people can give a compliment and a constructive criticism and both would leave the one being criticized smiling and uplifting.
Ever had a bad day? Of course you have. I have and I have lashed out critical of someone just because I was feeling critical. If you have never done that then good for you, this sermon will be more about accepting it and being even more positive then about avoiding doing it yourself.
Teaching a child or our child
Here is a brutal harsh reality: Some people with authority over you will have bad days and will criticize you unjustly. Some people seem to have bad days everyday and will criticize you unjustly just because they are mean – and a few other things. Some folks like being mean to others because it makes them, somehow, feel better about themselves. Other folks will criticize you because they think it makes them look smarter. And then there are those who get critically beat up by others and so they need the outlet of criticizing you.
My advice to the child and adult recipient of the above is simple. Get over it. So as a child is growing up we teach them that the world is not all about them. Tough news to swallow at around 6 and then again around 14. And around 20 and 30 and 40 and 50…. Other people in this world have their own problems and sometimes that gets taken out on you. Life is not always easy. So in order to grow and learn from harsh negative criticism we must learn discernment and to temper our gut reaction to that negativity. A whole lot easier said than done. But when we can do this our lives become uplifted even by the negative. I am a Pollyanna type person. Give me lemons and I will open a lemonade store. Trash talk me and I will smile that I made an impact. It is quite disturbing to a normal spouse who wants you to fight for her at the slightest insult. And it is quite infuriating to those that want to get your goat. But hey it is the way that I am. Don’t worry I still like a good brawl.
Call me crazy I just want to jump in with these folks, hug and sing along. WhooHoo!
The little fellow insists that he did his homework so well he gets my special cracker sandwich recipe.
Be patient with yourself and others
Ah ha! About now you are asking why this sermon is about uplifting but all I have been talking about is criticism. We can learn much from the opposites of life. You see just as criticism is about both the criticizer and the criticized so also is uplifting. You must have a sender and a receiver and the cool thing is one can be both.
How to uplift someone
Just do it! If you are one of those folks who have trouble giving out a compliment to someone else there is a remedy for you. Practice. At first practice within that head of yours. Compliment yourself. Say good stuff about yourself to yourself. “Eric you really nailed that sermon” “Eric it was not perfect but you are getting a lot better” “Eric I loved how you handled that delicate situation”. Boom ba da Bing you are on the road to uplifting yourself and others. It really is not hard. You can call it the power of positive in you or you can even call it the Spirit working through you – we do not discriminate here. Life is good here.
Now try not to take me wrong here even though I may be wrong. Uplifting others is good for you…. It is kind of creepy, like love, but the more you give the more you get. That to me is a Holy Mystery. I reckon there is some deep psychobabble reason why you get as much out of what you give with an uplifting action. “Give it away to keep it” just is not enough intellectual certitude for me. It has got to be spiritual for it cannot be explained logically. Except for the fact that compliments beget compliments and criticism begets criticism.
I miss my father in law, he lifted me up without even thinking about it, just by calling me son.
Let me tell you for sure; The love my readers show me, lifts me higher and higher!
Look for it and do it!
What is the difference between “uplifting” and a “compliment”?
I reckon a compliment can be uplifting all by itself. We Christians like to say “lift me up” as though we are putting someone up higher and closer to God. If you think about that it is really cool as opposed to being lifted up onto a pedestal. But if you go so graphic as to say lifted up on an altar then we should be careful of being a sacrificial lamb. So a compliment is simply saying something nice. (personally I magnify that as some sort of expression of love and praise) An uplifting is going out of one’s way to boost somebody up. A friend of mine says that I am needy because I really want and like positive affirmations from people. Maybe he is right and I should tone that down a bit. But the funny thing is that I like it this way. Maybe if I was a grumpy old man I would not, because I probably would not get uplifted much by my friends.
Forget about it! I do not buy what the new agers and latest cognitive psycho-therapists are saying in total. This notion that it is all or nothing. That I have to be all happy just in myself. I call bull. I can do both. I can be all self-contained and at peace and with inner purpose and a connection with my God – and still need your good lovin. One time I lived as a happy hermit. No not out on a mountain. I just would not let anyone into my house of thought. I isolated and compartmentalized them and me. Lonely as crap. I was even happy in a space of Zen Christianity. But the uplifting was missing.
Is it a necessity?
Uplifting is a necessity! Will you die if you do not get it? Yes you will. Remember I do not feed your belly, I try to feed your soul. It is not my job to help you get things you need to survive. We talk about the soul here. The soul needs uplifting from ourselves and others, or it shall perish.
So here is the bottom line of uplifting others and ourselves. It is all about the love baby. I love my wife. She knows that. A decade and a half should accomplish that knowledge. But holy mole I got to lift her up. That means I got to let her know that I love what she is and does. See the twist there? Lifting someone up is to unabashedly praise them for what they do. Of course I love my wife, but I got to let her know that I am very proud of the work she does. I am so why not show it. And as always that requires that she allow herself to be lifted up by my sentiment.
Right back to our practice session from above. Damn it, lift yourself up like you would another. Let me tell you something true. If you just read all of this, you are working on an understanding of life that you are not paid to do. You just cared about you and your thoughts. Wow even if it was a waste of time, you tried and that is way cool. You are on the road to uplifting yourself, now bring a neighbor along with you, the journey is more fun together.
On this fun day – can we get an Amen brothers and sisters?