• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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It is much Easier to Criticize Others than fix Your Own Problems

Overcoming A Critical SpiritI have learned that it is much easier to criticize the lives of other people than it is to fix the problems in your own life. Part of my job as a former educator was to evaluate the performance of others. I always tried to be positive when encouraging others to improve, but I soon realized that what I often thought was constructive criticism was perceived as negative personal criticism. It appears that there is no such thing as “constructive criticism” when you are on the receiving end of the conversation. The tongue may be a soft blunt instrument, but it is as deadly as a serpent’s fangs.

James, the brother of Jesus, writes “And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.” (3:6) James also writes, “With it [the tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth, come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” (3:9-10)

A good rule to keep in mind when it comes to criticism is that you should not criticize anyone unless you have the heart to help. This is best accomplished when you have a close personal friendship with the individual you are criticizing. This should always be done with the self-awareness that you are not a perfect judge. Criticism without grace and mercy is un-Christian. Look to your own faults before you speak of the faults of others.

How should you respond when others criticize you? Harry A. Ironside answered that question with this advice: “If what they are saying about you is true, mend your ways. If it isn’t true, forget it, and go on and serve the Lord.”

Some people develop the habit of criticism as a means of trying to make themselves look better than others do. Such criticism is the result of the sin of pride. A Christian should always remember that his own faults are not hidden from the supreme Judge of the universe. There will come a day when all we think we have hidden away from the eyes of others will become known.

In conclusion, let us consider another verse from James: “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” (James 1:26 ESV)

Samuel at Gilgal

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