What you’re about to read is a rant… a soapbox moment… a tirade if you will.
I’ve been noticing for a number of months to years how quick people are to criticize others. All it takes is for a person to slip up or make a mistake and immediately there are calls for their resignation. Sometimes it is demanded because they don’t hold the same views as those who call for their resignation. Sometimes it’s because they aren’t “measuring up” (Whatever that means). Sometimes it is the result of a personal vendetta. But I don’t want to examine those things…
What I’m wanting to explore is this… Where does this attitude come from and have we noticed how it is creeping into our homes? Let me ask you to consider the second part of that question first… how criticism is creeping into our homes.
If you watch American Idol, have you noticed how quick everyone else in the room (Not you or I of course! Snicker wink.) can critique and critize those who are performing? We make comments on everything from their hair style to their clothes to selection of songs to how well they performed. We even criticize the judges who are evaluating the performances. That’s evidence of it creeping in to our houses.
What about the last time you watched the Miss USA or Universe pagents? Did the same thing happen as the young ladies walked on stage? What did others in the room say about those ladies’ build… height… eyes… hair… dress… smile… or talent? If it was negative, that’s evidence of it creeping into our families.
What about coaches? It doesn’t matter if it’s a high school, college, or professional coach. If they don’t produce wins over the right teams… or if we don’t agree with their coaching philosophy… everyone else (!) says it’s time for them to move on. If you’ve done that, it’s evidence of a criticism creeping into our spirit.
I wonder… what is this doing to our families? Our kids? Our marriages? The Church?! At this point I’m not sure, but it CAN’T be good. I’m afraid that if we… and I mean WE, ALL OF US, ME… if we don’t stop this creeping evil it will destroy all that we love.
Once a critical spirit has taken root in our lives from these seemingly benign factors, we easily become critical of our kids, spouse, boss, co-workers, employees, Sunday School teachers, Deacons, church staff, and anyone else who we know. When that happens we begin to distance ourselves from them emotionally and the social structures required for a vibrant society will eventually be destroyed.
Please understand that I’m angry, mad, and frustrated because I have noticed this attitude creeping into MY home… MY family… MY life. And I don’t like it! I have noticed myself becoming a critical PERSON. I also know that being critical can result in me becoming a bitter person. And I don’t want that!
Where does this attitude come from? This one is simple. Consider two passages of Scripture…
James 4:1-4 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (ESV)
Matthew 15:18-20 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. (ESV)
When we (I) criticize others on whatever level or for whatever level, a spiritual flaw within us is being exposed! Those who are unbelievers won’t notice it, won’t care, or try to change. But those who are believers will recognize this is not Christ-like… they will realize their attitude needs to be addressed, and changed, if they are to become more like Jesus.
How is a culture of criticism to be combatted? It begins with the individual… you and me. We must refrain from participating in such conduct, repent of our failures in this area, and then make a concerted effort to live out what is found in Ephesians 4:29-32 where it is written…
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (ESV)