March 25, 2006

Compliments & Criticisms

It's interesting how some people are very free with compliments and others very sparing. There is a remarkable range. And so I thought: how free or sparing was Jesus? I looked at Luke's gospel and counted. I didn't include any references to groups of people as a criticism but was looking at words spoken to or about individuals. I examined situations where he either praised or condemned but soon noticed I needed a third category that fit neither: words of encouragement.

I counted four compliments, such as concerning the widow who contributed all she had. (The others were mostly situations where great faith was exhibited.)

I counted nine criticisms, mostly directed at the usual suspects - lawyers, Pharisees, scribes.

And finally the number of occasions of encouragement came to eight. (A couple of times words that might be construed as discouraging figured in (though as St. Ignatius said, "discouragement is not from God" and so can't be taken as such), like when He said that the rich have little chance to enter the Kingdom though with God anything is possible. Thank God for the "with God all things are possible" part 'eh?)

A very unscientific, anecdotal study, but there you have it.

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