Have you ever noticed that while pointing the finger at others there are three pointing back towards you? That is not coincidental since the scriptures say we are fearfully and wonderfully made. God thought of everything. So, it would be good to consider why those three fingers are designed to point back. Just saying!
We typically point a finger at others to express an opinion…good or bad, right or wrong. Usually those that are not so good. For example, “You always make such a mess!” Or, “Quit being so lazy and get up and help!”
Neither of those comments would be easily received because the words are so negative. Do you remember such a time when you delivered such a message? How about when you were on the receiving end of one?
The exclamation mark tell us that in both examples the tone and probably the body language is somewhat harsh. Picture your face and the way you would stand if that was you delivering one of those messages. It would probably look a bit like the face of the one who sent that kind of message to you.
And, if either of those messages could be any worse it would be that they are delivered in front of others. When you delivered such a message did you notice others in the room? How about when you received that kind of message? Was it privately delivered?
These three categories represent those three fingers that point back when pointing a finger at another. When we send an offensive message such as those in the examples we are actually providing three reasons for others to point their finger back at us. But, we can eliminate that crazy cycle by considering the following:
1. (Middle finger) What to do differently.
Choose words to convey a message that would be more palatable, something that would be a bit more positive.
2. (Ring finger) How to deliver the message.
Actions speak louder than words so think about what your message would look and sound like if your body language and tone was saying the same thing as your verbal message.
3. (Pinky finger) When is the appropriate time to deliver the message?
It is important to be sensitive to the one on the receiving end of a criticism, even when it is being delivered kindly. If you do unto others as you would have them do unto you the criticism will most likely be delivered privately.
So, considering the middle finger, pointing back, what words could I choose to send a more positive message?
Example 1. “The things you have left lying around makes a mess of the house so I’d like for you to put them where they belong.”
Example 2. “I know you are tired, I am too. If you would help me get these chores finished we could both chill out for a while.”
Now, let’s consider the ring finger, pointing back. See and hear yourself delivering such a message to be sure you support those kind but firm words.
The pinky finger is the smallest but could potentially have the biggest impact if we don’t consider the timing for delivering our messages. If a parent has to address a child it may not add a negative slant if spoken in front of the other parent. However, if the message is delivered in front of peers it may make a big difference in the dynamics of how the child feels while receiving.
The Bible says:
Proverbs 15:28 “The heart of the righteous studies to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.” (ONM)
Proverbs 16:3 “When a man’s Ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (ONM)
Proverbs 16:23 “The heart of the wise teaches his mouth and adds learning to his lips.” (ONM)
Next time you need to send a critical message to somebody, and you will, consider the three fingers pointing back to you. Is there room for improvement? Most of us could do better but don’t receive condemnation rather repent and make the adjustments!
There are so many promises in the scriptures, especially Proverbs, that I encourage you to read a chapter daily. Read chapter 17 today, on January 17th, the same day of the month to make it easier to keep up with the reading for each day.