A Critical Spirit and its Cure
by Greg Gordon
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. - Romans 14:13
The dictionary defines criticism as: “an act of criticizing; to judge as a critic; to find fault; to blame or condemn.” Scriptures are clear on this subject that we are not to tear down or accuse others in the body of Christ. Paul the Apostle rarely speaks of anyone by name and when he does it is either because a believer has departed fully from the faith, or it is a false idol worshiper who is opposing the gospel greatly.
Such warnings are few and far between in the New Testament. A principle Paul lived with was "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged" (1 Corinthians 11:31). In simple wording, he looked to his own problems 1000 times before looking at others and in the end though he was in no place to ever cast judgment on a believer's heart or motives.
People speak of having a critical spirit, where one is obsessively interested in tearing down others who are false, have problems, or just are not the same as them. Such a critical spirit looks towards what is bad always and is not able to see the good. Such people are complainers always seeming to have a reason to speak against something.
What causes believers to become critical? Believers become negative through at times sin they have committed (Romans 2:1) or unforgiveness towards another (Hebrews 12:15). Another reason is the individual is not thinking heavenly minded but is being more influenced by the worlds thinking (Romans 12:2). Insecurity and jealously can be a cause of someone having a critical spirit towards others.
Focusing on men and not the Lord can cause one to be critical of every flaw of others. Satan is also the “the accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10) and sadly can work through or use believers to accomplish his work of tearing down. Those who are habitual fault-finders, constant critics of people and situations usually are sick in the body and full of tension and stress.
The Scriptural solution to any of us even struggling in this area is clear: "stop passing judgment on one another" and that we can start to love others in the body of Christ, uplifting them, edifying them and building them up. We have the world the flesh and the devil putting stumbling blocks before us and the last thing we need is brethren to do this to us also. May we help each other on this narrow way to life and have mercy on other's failings as we would want them to have on us also.
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