Friday, April 19, 2013

Bitterness and the Critical Spirit



crit·i·cism  Noun

The expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes

“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 God. And so each of us shall give an account of himself - give an answer in reference to judgment - to God. Then let us no more criticize and blame and pass judgment on one another, but rather decide and endeavor never to put a stumbling block or an obstacle or a hindrance in the way of a brother.” {Romans 14:10 - Amplified Bible}

I am guilty of possessing the critical spirit. I have repented and have asked God to deal with it. This has been incredibly tough for me to admit. It was even harder to admit to God that I had a serious problem and I needed dealing with. God wasn't exactly subtle in his delivery of the fact that I had a critical spirit. He told me straight out and I was in serious danger of doing some irreparable damage.

So what is a "critical spirit"? Based on a study from www.victorious.org :

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. 
My critical spirit came out in the following form:
1. Gossip
2. Speaking disrespectfully about my church leaders
3. Negative views on the denomination as a whole
4. Criticizing the church in all areas.
5. Negative thinker
6. Picky, looking for faults.
7. Complaining

The Bible tells us not to tear down our Christian family through criticism or judgment, as this can be a serious stumbling-block and cause irreparable damage to their faith. I could have made someone stumble and fall because of my careless and destructive words! I cannot tell you how sobering that knowledge has been for me, especially remembering the scripture. "But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.{Matthew 18:6}*GULP*

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Although it doesn't say in so many words, I think that this next passage deals with the attitudes and actions of someone with a critical spirit. 
"..Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy." We are to allow the Holy Spirit to renew our thoughts and attitudes. I can tell you now that the Holy Spirit is in no way connected with a critical spirit. Those with a critical spirit may feel justified and righteous in their criticism and negativity, but it is not Godly. 

"So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body." Have you ever heard the saying, there are three sides to the truth? There are - your side, their side and the truth. Perception plays a huge part in how we see the world. If we are critical and negative about something, that will warp our sense of reality and how we see situations. We could inadvertently tell lies because our sense of what really happened and what was really said was warped by our perception. Instead of discussing our issues with one another to all and sundry, we should just keep quiet and deal with the matter privately and in the Biblical way. If we can't be sure it's the 100% truth, we need to stay silent. 

"And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil." By not dealing with anger and resentment quickly, we give the devil a chance to get in our ears and start filling our heads with nonsense. It can quickly escalate into a bigger problem and destroy relationships.
"......Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them."  Someone with a critical spirit can be spotted as soon as they open their mouths. Our words are to be encouraging and building up the church, not tearing it down.  

And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own,guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. {Ephesians 4:23 - 32}

There is no place in our hearts for a critical spirit. It muffles the voice of the Holy Spirit. It creates disturbance and hostility within us when there should be peace. 

MY PRAYER
Lord, Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me. Renew my mind and attitudes. I want to be more like you. Help me speak words of encouragement and be an uplifting part of the Body of Christ. Help me deal with my disappointments maturely and in a way that brings you glory. 

1 comment:

Grace said...

Very helpful! Thanks for your blog.
It was very helpful. Have a blessed day!


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