A Safe Place

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Here I am again. Thinking about the power of our words. Yet this time witnessing the destructive power they can carry.

There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18 NASB)

When we criticize the art of others, whether writing, poetry, performing, music or visual art, we take away a safe place for the artist to share. I do not mean critique or helpful insights given in love. There is a time and place for those.

As artists we need a safe place. Not necessarily a place free of critique but free of criticism and demeaning comments. Free of assumptions made without knowledge. When we demean someone because of how they create or how they learn and grow in their art we take away their safe place. We are essentially saying that God created us better than them. That our preferences are right and theirs are wrong. That our art is good and theirs is bad.

We imply that what we create is better than what they create. In some respects it very well could be. But what purpose is there in spewing harsh words? To say someone is just a blogger and not a writer. To say someone is only a painter and not an artist. Just a piano player and not a musician.

One may be gifted with writing fiction, while another excels more in the journalistic writing field. One artist may create wonderful abstracts while another is gifted in portraiture.

For many exploring in their art and sharing their art is also a form of worship. How they seek God. How they hear from God. So are we telling them they are wrong to worship? Wrong to seek God simply because we do not personally like their method or their art?

There is no right or wrong way to learn. There is no right or wrong way to create.

Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. (Galatians 5:26 NLT)

Why are we so threatened by how they write or paint or perform? And why pray tell does it matter the manner in which they learn and grow in their art? Each person learns with a different learning style. Not only is this true in an academic setting, but also in creative endeavors.

When we criticize we may add to their fear that they are not good enough.

When we criticize we hinder their freedom to grow.

When we criticize the way someone learns we take away their safe place to grow in their art.

And when we take away that safe place we also chip away at their hope.

How easy it is to allow discouragement to take over when we hear remarks that tear away at our confidence. We compare ourselves and what we do to others even if subconsciously. Our hope erodes so easily.

Yet there is Someone who dances over us. Who sings over us with joy. Who even before we were formed knew each and every one of our days, our experiences. Words that are meant to tear us down are no surprise to Him.

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17 NIV)

So the next time words threaten to crush your spirit remember. Remember there is Someone who takes such delight in you that He sings over you.

Then let the words of His song that He is creating in your life bring quiet to your soul.