Today’s Scripture: An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire. A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends. Proverbs 16:27‑28

A snowball is nothing more than tens of thousands of harmless snowflakes compressed together. Nevertheless, a snowball can cause a lot of damage. In the article, “Two College Math Majors Build 800-Pound Snowball and Roll It Downhill — Their Calculations Get a Great Big ‘F’,” The Blaze reported that on February 14, 2014, two math majors at Reed College in Oregon wanted to take advantage of heavy snowfall by creating a giant snowball.

By the time the students had finished the snowball, it was approximately 40 inches in diameter and weighed between 800–900 pounds. A crowd of students gathered as the snowball took shape. The crowd began to chant, “Roll it! Roll it!” The students obliged the crowd and rolled the huge snowball downhill.

But soon the fun was cut short. On the way down the hill, the snowball sped up, changed its course, and slammed into a dorm wall. The snowball ripped the wall from its supporting studs and nearly struck a window, causing an estimated $2000 – $3000 in damage.

Like the giant snowball and its humble beginnings, criticism starts small. Then as more people get involved, the snowball grows. People take sides. Some encourage the snowball builder with other negative tidbits until the snowball grows out of proportion. Soon the snowball of criticism takes on a life of its own and rolls downhill, picking up speed along the way. It continues its destructive course until someone gets hurt. The damage is always costly.

Are you critical of others? Do you judge others’ motives by their actions or their appearance? A snowball is forming. Do you share your critical thoughts with others instead of the object of your criticism? The snowball is growing. It will continue to grow as long as it is fed. Soon it will be out of control. Unless you are willing to deal with the person directly, keep your criticism to yourself so it does not snowball and hurt others in your church, family, and workplace.

Devotional by Jim Scudder Jr.