I watched American Idol for the first time the other night. I know, I know...you're wondering what cave I've been living in with Nell.
I'm not a fan of reality T.V. and recently I've made tremendous strides to watch less and less of any television show. We cut back to the most basic cable you can get ($11 a month) and I can honestly say I haven't really missed it. But, my kids and Dan have watched idol this season and love to cheer for their favorites and see what they'll sing, so I decided to check it out.
I'd heard a lot about Simon and while I agree he can be rude and negative, as I watched him rate each performance, I found myself agreeing with him. I also found it very easy to jump right into the judgement role and begin criticizing every detail of the performance I didn't find impressive or inspiring.
As we all sat and watched and did our own play-by-play comments, my oldest daughter became increasingly upset to the point of not wanting to watch the show together anymore. She felt we had become (and me in particular) too harsh in our criticisms, focusing only on what any particular singer did wrong and not giving any credit to their courage for being up there in the first place with relatively great voices.
She was right.
I've always had a critical streak, something I like to say I inherited from the paternal side, but calling something hereditary and moving right along doesn't assume any responsibility. So it was convicting to have my daughter brought to tears by my negativity.
I just finished reading a book by Chip Ingram called "The Miracle of Life Change" (I highly recommend it to everyone) and it talks about how we are transformed from the inside out when we become Christians. His focus comes from Ephesians chapter 4. Verses 22-24 say we are to put off the old self (old habits), get renewed by the Holy Spirit in our minds and then put on the new self (we are made new creations in Christ). A lot like changing clothes.
And then a few verses later (vs. 29) I read "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear."
Sometimes I think my daughter is an angel in the room - God's gentle reminder that it's better to give grace than assume the role of judge.