“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6
Deep down, do we think of criticism as a little sin? So little that we may not notice when we do it?
If we don’t notice it, it quietly grows into a habit—our default response when something does not go our way.
One of the goals for our fast on criticism is to become aware of criticism as we are about to do it—and not just when criticism is directed at us. But we don’t just want to see how often we criticize; we want to truly see criticism for what it is.
The roots of criticism are often uglier than we have let ourselves believe. If we want to conquer criticism and become people who speak only what is edifying (Eph. 4:29) we need to recognize and pull up those roots. So let’s take a deep breath and ask ourselves . . .
- How much of my critical attitudes and words come from pride? Criticism is often based on the assumption that I know better or could do better.
- Am I placing myself above another person, forgetting that they are not my servant? Deep down, do I think I have a right to hold others to my standards? Isn’t it a form of entitlement to think I can speak dismissively to that store clerk?
- Do I really want to align myself with the wrong side? Satan is the “accuser of the brethren” (Rev. 12:10). If I criticize, then I am in danger of working with him! In contrast, Romans 8:33 says, “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen. It is God who justifies.” God defends all his own. And just in case we think there are exceptions for incompetence ….. Romans 14:4 says, “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.”
What happens once we decide we will quit all criticism? We may discover it is far more difficult than we expected. Every addict thinks they can quit anytime—until they actually try to do it
However the struggle is worth it. It will take admitting the truth, intentional practice over time, and God’s transforming grace, to pull up the roots and form new habits. We can do it. We can become people whose words are “like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11).
The good man brings good things out of the good treasure of his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil treasure of his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. Luke 6:45