Christians, today’s post is a little bit different than usual. A while back, I was referencing something about nit-picking something I was doing and I felt like the Holy Spirit illuminated the phrase in a new light. Since then there have been a couple of different “sayings” that I felt have some deeper meaning when examined further. From time to time I may take one of these sayings and share the revelation I have received from it and I hope it blesses you. Enjoy.
Nit Picking, by Merriam Webster’s definition, is: minute and usually unjustified criticism. Dictionary.com describes it as a Noun meaning a concern with insignificant details, especially with the intention of finding fault. It also lists it as a Verb meaning: showing such a concern; fussy. When I originally used this phrase, I was referring to someone being picky and analyzing something closely, so it fit my definition, but then I thought, what am I saying, where does “nit-pick” come from?
I used Wikipedia (not my favorite source, but for this it works) to find out the origin of the term. It comes from an old grooming practice of when someone would pick the nits (the eggs of lice) from another’s hair. A tedious, time consuming, task that required close attention to detail, led to the term’s meaning. I find it interesting that the term has a negative connotation, as though, a nit-picker is bad, when the initial nit-picker’s were mother’s doing it out of love, for their children. With advances in lice shampoo, this practice is not something in the West we see first hand, but may be still practiced in remote areas. It is still prevalent in the animal kingdom and is done by the close family group they formed and is not negative but open and welcome.
When I thought about this, I realized that nit-picking without a relationship is a negative thing, and it is more prevalent in society today. With online profiles out there for anyone to see and analyze closely, nit-picking is so easy to do and has been done to you with perfect strangers from all around the world. We all have issues that someone else could see in our lives that might be more difficult for us to see. How that person goes about “helping” you is dependent upon the heart and mindset they approach you with. As Christians, we know that Jesus brought up this point, He didn’t say nits, but more specks and planks.
When Jesus talked about us analyzing others’ lives, He told us to examine ourselves first, so that we weren’t having OUR issues affect helping others with THEIR issues. I think that really sets the stage for how you approach someone. If you understand you just removed a huge plank out of your own eye, you will realize the intricacies and sensitivity needed with helping someone remove a speck from their eye. I also think it helps to analyze what tools to use. When removing the issues from our life, did we publicly post the procedure on our social media page, no? Then maybe that should not be the tool we use to help others. I also once heard a quote, I am not sure who said it first, “if you have a problem with me, call me, if you don’t have my phone number, then you don’t know me well enough to have a problem with me.” I really believe this motto could be used to determine whether or not you should engage with someone about their “problems.”
I also think the manner in which we engage someone makes a huge difference. I used to play this game with the kids, I would pretend to groom their hair like a monkey. I did it once, they laughed, thought it was funny, but then at different times, they would request that I do it. Why? Because it was relaxing, soothing, calming, I didn’t PULL their hair, I was gentle and CAREFUL. If we truly want to be good at helping people, we have to be gentle, people should want to come to us and have us help them with their issues. As Christians, GENTLENESS should be flowing in our lives, it is a Fruit of the Spirit. If we work towards developing a Christian Family Environment, then we would have an environment where we welcome nit-picking because it is seen as mutually beneficial for our family group. I pick your nits, you pick mine and maybe we could eliminate the “lice” from our Church family completely.
In closing, I want to say that we all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. We have all been recipients of His Grace and Mercy. When we approach others, we need to remember that we have had our own struggles and they were STRUGGLES. We have had to overcome it and it didn’t happen overnight. If someone asks you to help them, remember these things and also remember that we don’t need to go looking for others’ faults. We can only help those who want to help themselves. I found this term interesting and hopefully looked at fault finding in a new light. I hope you enjoyed it as well, and that it helps you in relationships with others.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5 (NIV)
Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Galatians 6:1 (NLT)
A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness. The Lord is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good. Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. Only a fool despises a parent’s discipline; whoever learns from correction is wise. Proverbs 15:1-5 (NLT)
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT emphasis added)