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Daily Devotional for March 19

March 19                                                    Matthew 21:12-17

                      On Praise

The word "criticize" comes from the Greek word meaning
"to tear flesh." It presents a violent image with a powerful
negative connotation. In contrast, praise edifies and builds up,
contributing to the positive side of life.

In today's reading, Jesus encounters the realities expressed by
both words. First, those who were being healed were praising
Jesus, saying, "Hosanna to the son of David." Then there were
the indignant religious authorities, criticizing Jesus.

Criticism or praise. This is often the choice for us. Will we
be a presence that tears down, or one that builds up?

The Bible tells us that God inhabits the praises of the people.
The reason for this is that when we allow others to speak
positively, we align ourselves with the creative spirit of the
universe - the God of the Bible and of Jesus. When we criticize
and speak negatively, we align ourselves with all that could,
and often does, destroy our spirits.

Jesus says that God so cares for the positive power of praise
that God brings forth praise out of the mouths of babies and
infants. Here, infants and babies may well be an image of the
childlike part of ourselves. Elsewhere, Jesus commands that
we let the children come unto him. When we come to Jesus
like children, allowing the child inside to be open, free,
trusting, and creative, we find ourselves on the positive,
praising side of life.

         Dear Jesus, let me concentrate just for today on
     trusting you, enabling the inner child in me to express
                  itself in natural praise and joy. Amen.

From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle

Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C.1989  

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