Scripture: Proverbs 18:21 

I enjoy baking and I make a pretty good key-lime cake. By itself, the icing for a key-lime cake has a tart taste but when it is put on the cake, the two mixed together makes for a pleasant dessert. When I made one recently I had icing left over so I wrapped it up and put it in the refrigerator. After several days I noticed that the icing was still there and had not been touched. No one had eaten the icing alone but the cake had been devoured. It's the same icing but by itself it was simply too tart to handle and would probably create some stomach pains.

Once again I was able to receive a message from God through the cake and the icing. It was a message regarding criticism. We often have a need to approach people with criticism and we tend to get frustrated when the criticism is not received. Could it be that the criticism is like the key-lime icing and it may be too tart to digest by itself? When criticism is balanced with praise and appreciation it is much easier for the other person to receive.

Solomon wrote in Proverbs 18:21 that "the tongue can bring death and life."(NLT). Whenever we need to offer criticism, always start the critique with something positive. Our goal should be to have the person receive what we are saying. For that to happen we should lift the person up before we let them down. We should highlight their strengths before we address their weakness. When we preface our critique with praises it's like serving the sweet cake with the tart icing. The two go better together.