Armchair Critic

Isn’t it fun to view an exhibition or an event which displays the very peak of human capabilities: performing arts, strategic exhibitions, architectural marvels, athletic prowess, etc.? Seeing people take the basic mind/body/emotion functions that every person possesses on some level, to the absolute pinnacle of what we think is possible, is captivating.

The second Olympics in 7 months wrapped up this weekend, so I can finally get some sleep. Those around me will tell you that I don’t miss much during the 2 weeks of the Olympic games. I watch the glories, the tragedies and the mundane middle ground. But even the middle of the pack and end of the line athletes are IN THE OLYMPICS!!! I grew up swimming year-round and I know how much work and dedication it took to not even come close to the Olympic trials, much less to actually qualify for the Games!! For those Olympic athletes who don’t get their competitions broadcast or stories shared, they are still uber-inspirational humans for their discipline and work ethic that brought them to the highest athletic competition in the world! And don’t even get me started on the Paralympic Athletes! (PSA – the Paralympics will broadcast on Primetime, for the first time ever, beginning Mar 4 on NBC, Peacock, USA Network, Olympic Channel, and the NBC Sports app!)

If athletes, who condition and train their bodies and their skills to an ultra-human level, do not win, or have their best outing, or aren’t able to finish, they have been known to receive criticism. Often, the most critical are those reclining in their armchairs, sipping their favorite beverage, having never even participated in the activity that they are criticizing! I have been guilty of shouting to the TV suggestions to competitors of what do differently, or how to do it better, to curlers, arial skiers, baseball players and defensive backs. Four things where, I can assure you, I am no expert.

Armchair critics exist in all areas. Those who are not believers in Jesus often criticize those who are, either for what believers do, or do not do. Critics are quick to point out our shortcomings, our failures, and our weaknesses. This is understandable when you consider that the things of God do not make sense to those who don’t have the Holy Spirit to interpret. When we accept Jesus, His Spirit comes to live in us, to guide, counsel and commune with us. Our relationship with God doesn’t make us perfect, just forgiven and atoned for our imperfections. God doesn’t live in us to smite us when we step out of line, but rather, He promises to never leave or forsake us, so He is making good on His promise. WHY does He never leave us? Because He LOVES US! He is a relational God who wants to hang out with us. For us to pay attention to Him and spend time with Him in return, enhances the bond we have with Him, and we receive more of the full blessing of His presence.

Not only are we seen by God, but He celebrates our efforts to walk rightly. He hears our silent earnest prayers; He sees our quiet generosity with our time, resources and mercy; He knows when our heart’s goal is to glorify Him. Matthew 6:4 says that when we do these things “your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matt 6:4

It is comforting to know that no matter how unlauded, or denounced we are here on earth, we are seen and will be rewarded by the only audience that matters. Therefore, we can ignore the armchair commentators who don’t know our heart, or all of the variables in our journey, and instead remember that we will one day be on God’s podium, receiving “the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award on that day… to all who have longed for His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8

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