February 9th 2010

The Curse Of Criticism

“Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.  And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?  Hypocrite!  First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Matthew 7:1-5 (NKJV)

Nothing is more dispiriting than being criticised.  People in the public view have to learn to deal with it as part of their daily routine, but to Mr., Mrs. or Miss Average Citizen, criticism can be a seriously debilitating experience that can wreck relationships.

We all like to be complimented, to receive a pat on the back and hear the words ‘well done’.  This encourages and builds us up, it gives us hope to press on and try to do better.  But criticism can tear down, destroying the very joy of living.  It can leave us feeling worthless, unacceptable, unloved, and angry at the critic.

We were not created to be in this condition.  Our very existence is a statement of the love that God, our creator, has for us and it is an assault on God’s view of us to undermine that love.  God’s love is unconditional, it does not depend on us being right or clever, or any other human measure.  God knows that we are frail and weak, yes, even those who think they are not; and his love accepts us in this condition.

Criticism usually flows from someone’s perception of what is acceptable in another not being lived up to.  Our standard for them is our measure, and when they fail to measure up we can all too easily slip into criticism mode.

You may remember that Jesus said if you see a speck in someone else’s eye consider the moat in your own.  How much better it would be when we see some failure in another to take the opportunity to do a little stock-take of ourselves. 

 Prayer

Father in heaven, as I realise the unconditional love that you have for me, let me see that that is an example you wish me to follow.  Help me to seek to encourage and not to criticise when I see shortcomings in others.

Amen

Study by David Stirk 

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