Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Spirit of Criticism - Part 1

Romans 14:10-13 (NIV)
10 You, then, why do you JUDGE your brother? Or why do you LOOK DOWN ON your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. 11 It is written: As surely as I live,' says the Lord, every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God. 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us STOP PASSING JUDGMENT on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.

Here the Bible tells us not to tear down our brethren through judgment or criticism, because this can put a serious stumbling-block in their way, and perhaps damage their faith.

The truth is, we cannot accurately judge anyone else because we don’t have all the evidence; nor do we know the contents of their heart. We should be content with JUDGING OURSELVES ONLY as I Corinthians 11:31 commands.


A critical person is one who has an obsessive attitude of fault-finding, which seeks to tear others down. This is the type of person who usually dwells on the negative, and seeks to point out flaws more than the good. They often have little control over their tongue, their temper, and have tendencies for gossip and slander, which the apostle Paul said were SINS “WORTHY OF DEATH” (Romans 1:29-32).


1. NEGATIVITY - A bad attitude and a negative view of life; perhaps their own life. A person may have unconfessed sin in their life, or may harbor unforgiveness or bitterness toward someone who may have offended them. See Romans 2:1 and Hebrews 12:15.

2. INSECURITY - Criticism is often a subconscious means to “elevate one’s own self image.” By putting others down, they are inwardly trying to feel more important or that “they know more.” Jealousy toward the spiritual victories of others is often the cause of criticism and belittling comments. Popular ministers and churches are often the target of such tactics.

3. IMMATURITY - Believers must always keep their focus upon Christ and His Word, not man, who will often fail (Heb. 12:2). Here’s what happens: Those who are new (and immature) in the faith are often overly dependent upon the faith of others during those formative months/years. However, over time they begin to notice the flaws in their brethren and their expectations are crushed. Criticism becomes a reaction to their disappointment. This is a normal part of growth and maturity (noticing faults and learning to overlook them) – which some are able to accomplish while others do not.

4. A CARNAL MIND - Put-downs, making-fun-of, racial jokes, disparaging remarks, criticism, and sarcasm are the world’s ways of reacting to the faults of people. However, Christian people are not supposed behave this way. Our thinking and attitude should be renewed by the Word of God, which teaches us to bear the infirmities of the weak, to love, and show compassion and encouragement (Rom. 12:2).

5. THE DEVIL - As we may realize, Satan specializes in influencing obsessive behavior. He may use any or all of the above channels, or other techniques, to influence a complaining or critical attitude to stir up turmoil and strife within the body of Christ (Eph. 6:12). We must be on guard that none of us would be used as a tool of the Devil to bring harassment or discouragement upon our brothers or sisters through continual criticism, as the Bible warns us not to “give place” to the Devil (Eph. 4:27). Remember that Satan is specifically called “the ACCUSER of the BRETHREN” (Rev. 12:10), and when people do the same they are doing the devil’s work.


The Bible does not promise peace to those who focus on and dwell upon the faults of others. God promises peace to those who are focused on Him.

Isaiah 26:3 (KJV) 3Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, WHOSE MIND IS STAYED ON THEE: because he trusteth in thee.