Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Critical Spirit

"In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who refrains his lips is wise. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; The heart of the wicked is worth little." Prov. 10:18-20

I have been thinking about this post for a while and this past week several things happened that prompted me to want to go ahead and write it. There is so much that can be said on this. I will share from my heart my thoughts on the subject.

A critical spirit is contagious. Not a good contagious like laughter, but a dangerous contagious. It ruins the mood of any gathering. It's a turnoff to everyone in the room. Before long it spreads until other's are joining in with the meaningless chatter. A critical person stands out and is usually avoided at all costs, unless you just can't avoid them because their family. I hate criticism. "A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken." Prov. 15:13

I hate it yet I find myself doing it at times. Sometimes a lot depending on whom I'm around and the situation I am in. If I am around a very critical person for very long, it rubs off a lot and then I catch myself doing and saying some of the same things that I hated in them. It could be criticizing people, circumstances, things. "These six things the Lord hates, Yes, even seven are and abomination to Him...One who sows discord among the brethren." Prov. 6:16,19. Could be a gossiper, a strife stirrer, or a criticizer. Whatever it may be that sows discord the Lord hates.

You know what it's like to be around those who are positive, uplifting, encouraging, affirming, and sweet? I want to be more like that. I would to see the good in all people and things. I don't want to focus my attention on the bad and the ugly all the time. "Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls." Prov. 25:28

Where is the line drawn between speaking truth as you see it versus just plain being negative? I know it used to make me upset when my parents would point out discrepancies they saw in people or they could have just been accessing a situation and I labeled it a critical spirit. It wasn't all the time, although at times it might have been. I know the Lord looks upon the heart and knows our full motives and intentions so maybe that's where the line is drawn. Calling a politician a liberal because he is pro-choice is not being's just speaking truth. Jesus often called the Pharisees a brood of vipers (Matt. 3:7). The Israelites were often labeled a stubborn and stiff necked people (Deut. 31:27).

I pray the Lord will help us all guard what pours out from our mouths, for it is indeed a reflection of what's going on on the inside. It could be criticizing our husbands for unmet expectations, criticizing our children's inabilities or shortcomings, criticizing anyone who is different. I meet a lot of moms/women who are so quick to criticize their husbands in public. It ought not to be. No, they are not always perfect, but may I add, neither are we. We wouldn't want them criticizing our faults in front of their co-workers so lets be guarded about what we say to our friends. May God keep us from pride and a loose tongue.

Anyhow, I know this post is random. It might not even make sense to you. It's hard to collect my thoughts on this because it's so broad. There's more that can be said, but I won't be long winded tonight. I pray God will show each of us areas in our own hearts that have been so quick to be critical of others and to others. May we speak truth when necessary and edify when necessary and be quick to know the difference.