Recently God has been dealing with me in the area of my critical spirit. I hate to let down the masses, and by masses I really just mean my mom, who has hoisted me onto a spiritual pedestal but this is where God has been challenging me lately. As I study the Scripture relative to this topic I'm challenged and reminded of a biblical truth that I offer to you.
We shouldn't be critical of others when we're guilty of doing the same thing. Paul paints this picture pretty clearly as he write to the church gathered in Rome.
Romans 2:1-3 (NLT) says, "You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things?"
To get the full picture of what Paul is getting at here you have to flip back to the end of Romans 1. He's telling the church to stop condemning others for greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, gossip, being back stabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, boastful, being disobedient to parents, breaking promises, refusing to understand, and being heartless and merciless.
Paul was chastising the church in Rome for condemning people for these things while they themselves were guilty of doing the same things. Jesus communicated the same idea in John 8 when He said to the religious leaders who brought the woman caught in adultery, "All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”
Jesus is abundantly clear in John 10:10 when He says, "The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life." The flip side of a critical spirit that often goes unnoticed is the negative effect it has on the criticizer. When we adopt a critical spirit as a way of life we not only destroy the spirits of those around us, we destroys our spirits as well. There is a heaviness that comes with being critical. Often associated with a knot in the stomach, a feeling of regret lingers over us when we're constantly critical of those around us. This is not how God has designed that we live and function. We were created to bring life as He has brought life to us. The prophet Micah says is like this,
"No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." -Micah 6:8 (NLT)
Can all of your interactions with those around you be classified according to the terms, "Righteousness, Mercy and Humility"? Here's a truth that you and I are both aware of but we tend to forget sometimes, "We're not perfect". Let's spend less time evaluating others and more time evaluating ourselves. Be encouraged and keep moving forward. -Andy