Tell Me My Weakness

In the name of the Father, the Son, & the Holy Spirit, One God, Amen!

+ Tell Me My Weakness + 

Have people ever said to you, "Tell me my weakness"? Don't be humiliated like me thinking that they actually mean it! Let me give you advice. 

It was years ago, one of my friends insisted for me to visit his home and stay over there. Then, I agreed and went to his home. We were both young and unmatured children. We were ignorant and unaware of whether we know the right or wrong things. At that age, you have a struggle that you think you know everything and desire to advise everyone. Book of Argawi menfesawi says, 'He who gives advice without being requested for is like a man who curses.' But we, at that time, were the ones who gave advice to everyone, fools who memorize the golden sayings we have extracted from books and quote them as if they are our own. When we have grown up, we remember this, examine and blame ourselves. 

So after having a lot of talking in the evening, in the middle of our warm conversation, my friend who had me over his house for the night said, 'Tell me about the weaknesses you see in me?' I replied, 'There is no weakness that I see in you' but my face says the opposite, and can tell that the question was very appealing to me. He seemed to understand and said, " Don't worry, it's just to learn and change." And I didn't hesitate much and said,  ‘I don’t actually see many weaknesses in you; But if you insist, I will tell you some things... and I started to tell him. How nice and easy is to talk about other people's weaknesses? When I say one thing and I remember the other, and I went on and on... how can I stop my flood of criticism? All the "some weaknesses" I mentioned will end up being like a mountain. Somehow, I managed to conclude it and when I looked back, my friend's face looked red like a tomato. He seems like he nearly burst a blood vessel. He looked like he was fuming. 

He said dolefully, 'So, if you have all this trouble with me, why did you come to stay at my house? ' I was shocked, I lost my words to answer. Even If I tried to explain what I said before, restate, or mention things I would say about his strengths, he did not cheer up. Being a child, he was not able to pretend so he went to another room not wanting to stay over with me. At that time, I would not have hated going home. But their village is home to many homeless dogs that are similar to the number of residents living in the area. If I try to get out, the dogs may share me as their dinner. With so much struggle that night gone by, and in the morning I left the house without saying goodbye. We laugh heartily now as we recall that time with my friend. (Although his laughter is not as long as mine) Now that I think about it, all the weaknesses that I said he has, were all on me if not doubled. 

That night was the night I took practical lessons. When people say to you, 'Tell me my weakness,' don't tell them everything you can remember, thinking that they actually mean it. The Norwegians say to the person who asks them "tell me my weakness", 'Tell me what you think your weakness is first,' and they give ideas based on what the person says first. This is to measure the person's ability to hear criticism. 

If the author asks you to review their work and comment on it, and you gave them a good amount of critique, then they will add you to the list of names in their "Enemies of My growth" list. Therefore, if you have a critique to make, start with praise. Even If people say, 'no don't praise me' give them praise first. Although they appear that they don't want to hear it, yet they will. You can call the Praise which comes before critics as Anesthesia before surgery.

Look at Christ, When mildly rebuked

Nicodemus Saying, "Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?" (John 3:10). Criticism begins by saying, 'Aren't you an educated person?' This will result in the other person listening. Scholars say that the Lord "flourished and rebuked mildly Nicodemus.". Those critics which come after the flourished, respect and praise will be heard. The wise say, "Even if he is not worthy of it, praise the person for it will increase the strength of the person". 

When Criticism comes with seasoned words, it will be heard. Wouldn't it be better if a Cobbler said to his customer whom the shoe doesn't fit "Is the shoe a bit tight?" Then saying your "Your foot is too big for that"? If he says that, she is more likely not to go back to the store ever. There is no difference in both ideas, but the way it's spoken makes a huge difference. (It's not what you say, but how you say it!). I think the problem with most of us is that we don't know the difference between 'Criticism' and 'constructive feedback'. This problem is especially wide in our country. The critic will crush you harshly, while the one who requests your feedback only expects you to give him praise. The solution for this is: for the feedback giver to extend comment carefully in a polite, respectful, loving, and more articulate way and the listener to be more thick-skinned and receive feedback. 

Indeed, there will be some who despise you even when you praise them. When you give respect and admiration to him, Because of his lack of confidence in his own abilities and work he says, “Oh, I thought he was educated & matured, but If he's like this for me, then he's just an ordinary person". It's a little bit similar to Groucho Marx. An American comedian Groucho Marx was a man of perfectionism, who was highly critical of his own performance. He is said to have remarked that 'He would never join a club that would have him as a member. A person who is infected with such an obsession may think that all those who accept him are useless because of his own low self-esteem. A person with such a problem will look down on those who encourage him because of his lack of self-confidence.

On the other hand, there are those who respect those who despise them. There are many people who fear and honor all their lives, to those people who sit at a distance in their office and speak down on them and despise their work. There are many, whom when you speak to them with a smile and respect, boast and despise you, While they praise those who speak with them in a sense of contempt and dominance. Looking at this kind of person, There are some who decided to be evil and conclude that it is not worth it to be a good person for others. Those who honor the person who insults them rather than those who honor them, have a major role in reigning contempt and insult. 

Glory to God, Amen!

Written by Deacon Henok Haile 

Translated by T.D.


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