Do you have a Critical Spirit?
14:10 Why do you criticize and pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you
look down upon or despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of
The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines criticism as an act of
criticizing; to judge as a critic; to find fault; to blame or condemn.
As we have read, the scriptures tell us not to tear down our
brethren through criticism or judgment, as this can pose a serious stumbling-block and
cause irreparable damage to their faith.
Among Gods warnings to us in scripture, there are none more
somber or serious than His warning to not become a stumbling block to His followers.
...whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be
better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth
of the sea (Matt. 18:6).
Theres an old saying that We tend to judge others by
their actions, and we judge ourselves by our intentions. The truth is, we cannot
rightly judge anyone else, because we do not know the contents of their heart. We should
be content to judge only ourselves and seek to bring our own lives in alignment with
Gods Word (1 Cor. 11:31).
What Exactly is a Critical Spirit?
A critical spirit, is an obsessive attitude of criticism
and fault-finding, which seeks to tear others down not the same thing as what is
sometimes called constructive criticism. The only criticism that is ever
constructive is that which is expressed in love to build up, not to tear down
it is always expressed face-to-face, never behind their back.
The person with a critical spirit usually dwells on the negative,
seeks for flaws rather than good. Theyre a complainer, usually always upset, and
generally have a problem or a complaint about something. They often have little control
over their tongue, their temper, and have tendencies for gossip and slander, which Paul
said were sins worthy of death (Rom. 1:29-32).
What Causes a Critical Spirit?
1. Negativeness - A bad attitude and a negative view of life. A person may have unconfessed sin in their life (Rom. 2:1), or may harbor unforgiveness or bitterness toward someone who may have offended them (Heb. 12:15).
2. Insecurity - Criticism is often a subconscious
means to elevate ones 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 of the Gospel 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). The young or
immature believer who has not progressed very far in their own faith, remain overly
dependent upon the faith of those within the body of Christ. Unfortunately, when they
begin to notice the flaws in their brethren, subconsciously, this becomes a threat to
their own sense of victory. Criticism becomes a reaction of disappointment, because their
expectations in others have been crushed.
4. An Unrenewed Mind - Put-downs, making-fun-of,
criticism, sarcasm are the worlds ways of reacting to the faults of people. However,
as Christians we dont 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, the Devil
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). Are you an accuser of the brethren?
The Bible says that the reason that we are to come together as a
church is, not to criticize, but to exhort (encourage) one another (Hebrews
10:25). Cursing the darkness wont change anything, but we must light a
candle and expose the light of Gods Word. By sharing the truth of
Gods Word, and encouraging people to live in its truth, people will change. Love and
encouragement is a motivational force.
If we ever hope to bring improvement in others, we need to become
people of encouragement. This is the only attitude that will change people, and our
actions and words must be devoted to encouraging the spiritual progress of our brethren.
The Christians tongue should never be used for anything but
good. Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word, nor unwholesome or worthless
talk (ever) come out of your mouth; but only such speech as is good and beneficial to the
spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a
blessing and give grace (Gods favor) to those who hear it (Eph. 4:29 The
Prescription For a Healthy Mind
A number of years ago, Dr. David H. Fink, a psychiatrist for the
veterans administration, wrote an article for Coronet Magazine, entitled, Release
from Nervous Tension. In his article (republished in 2010 as a book by the same title, available on Amazon), he outlined his research into the causes of
mental and emotional disturbances.
From over 10,000 case studies, he discovered that there was a common
trait with all his patients who suffered from severe tension. They were habitual
fault-finders, constant critics of people and things around them. Those who were free from
tension, were the least critical. His conclusions were that the habit of fault-finding is
a prelude or mark of the nervous, or the mentally unbalanced. Those who wish to retain
good emotional and mental health, should learn to free themselves from a negative and
Remember this, the Bible doesnt promise peace to those who dwell on the faults of others! It says that the Lord will keep them in perfect peace, whose minds are stayed on Him! (Isaiah 26:3).