Focal Passages: James 4:11-12; Romans 14:1-12, 19
I remember with amusement an incident when my husband Jack
and I were young and new to ministry. As I entertained a church member, I went
to check on food in the oven. When I returned, my visitor was missing. In time
she returned and explained, “I was just looking for a better place for you to
hang that picture.” The incident is funny now, but I don’t remember laughing at
As I have grown in Christ, I’ve learned, as I’m sure you
have, certain things about criticism that warrant review:
- Criticism can be verbal or non-verbal.
- Raising the eyebrows, or rolling one’s eyes can speak
volumes without saying a word.
- Refusal to acknowledge others with conversation or eye
contact is another non-verbal way to criticize, as it communicates disdain.
- Everyone from time to time encounters criticism; the only
people who don’t are in the graveyard.
- Criticism of another person doesn’t make it true. When
criticism comes from friends, there may be truth in it that can help us to grow
- Studying our critics can reveal what makes them critical
by nature. Perhaps they have a painful home life, a crippling debt, or illness.
- The cost of “losing
one’s cool” is high.
It can affect our health and that of others when we give way
to fits of anger at home or at work.
No one enjoys being around someone with a “short fuse.” The
writer of Proverbs said, “A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word
stirs up wrath” (Prov. 15:1).
- Prayer and practicing the presence of God conquers a
critical spirit, and renews fellowship with God.
Paul said, “For it is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord,
every knee will bow to Me, and every tongue will give praise to God’” (Rom.
James warned, “There is one lawgiver and judge who is able
to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” (Jas. 4:12).
We are wise to leave it to God to “set others straight” and
make Jesus our example. He completed His work while enduring harsh criticism.
The Pharisees were jealous of Him and envied His great
following. He was accused of blasphemy, called the son of the devil, and
charged with being insane.
Paul declared that one day, “Each of us will give an account
of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12).
Until then, whenever we’re criticized, let’s forgive and
remember to forget.