Criticism

manna A STUDY ON CRITICISM
from the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy

“You must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips…. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience…. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom.” Col. 3:8-16.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Col. 4:6.

“The holy influences (from the two olive branches) will be imparted to others in words of kindness, tenderness, love and encouragement.” SD 34.

“It is a sin to speak impatiently or fretfully, or to feel angry - even though we do not speak.” SD 84.

“Burning words of passion should never be spoken, for in the sight of God and holy angels, they are a species of swearing.” SD 58.

Kind words, pleasant looks, a cheerful countenance,.. make [the Christian’s] influence almost irresistible…. Those who…are…unkind in words and deportment, have not learned of Jesus;…they are yet servants of the wicked one.” OHC 238.

“I will not allow my mind to think or speak ill of my brethren.” OHC 239.

NOTE: Criticism is being outward focused in a negative way - a counterfeit for being outward focused in a positive way. If we harbor or take critical thinking inside, whether it is about others or about ourselves, we are swallowing the “hook” of Satan’s efforts to overcome us and take us down.

Jealousy is an idol (see Eze. 8 ) which began in heaven, continued in Cain, Jacob and Esau, Joseph’s brothers, etc. Jealousy is rooted in self-aggrandizement. It says, “I’m uncomfortable, and it is your fault. You have to change in order for me to be happy.”

Jealousy sees the success of another person as a threat to ourselves. Rather, we should see their success or gifts as a blessing to everyone, for we are all brothers and sisters and can learn and benefit from each other and their contribution to the rest of the family or group. So Satan tries hard to plant the seeds of jealousy in the human heart. We must resist him and he will flee from us!

The temptation to criticize is often disguised jealousy. We have to take the other person down a notch or two - make him be on our level or a little below. It is a nasty side effect of the carnal nature, and must be recognized for what it is - SIN!

“If we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” 1 Jno. 4:12.

“It is the greatest and most fatal deception to suppose that a man can have faith unto life eternal, without possessing Christlike love for his brethren…. Christians love those around them as precious souls for whom Christ has died.” 5 BC 1141.

“God permits every human being to exercise his individuality.” KH 134.

“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar…. Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” 1 Jno. 4:20, 21.

“Love will gain the victory when argument and authority are powerless.” 2T 135.

“Love and purity are the attributes that He prizes the most.” DA 219.

“Why do we not show that we have a living Saviour, One who can walk with us in the darkness as well as in the light?… The life in which the fear of the Lord is cherished will not be a life of sadness and gloom. It is the absence of Christ that makes the countenance sad…. It is our privilege to seek constantly the joy of His presence. He desires us to be cheerful and to be filled with praise to His name. He wants us to carry light in our countenances and joy in our hearts.” KH 142.

“I keep saying in my heart, ‘He loves me, He wants my love, and He wants me to be happy. No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.’” KH 143.

“The powers of darkness stand a poor chance against believers who love one another as Christ loved them, who refuse to create alienation and strife, who stand together, who are kind, courteous, and tenderhearted, cherishing the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. We must have the Spirit [thoughts, feelings attitudes] of Christ, or we are none of His.” 5 BC 1141.

“By living to minister to others, man is brought into connection with Christ. The law of service becomes the connecting link which binds us to God and to our fellow men.” COL 328.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk (corrupt communication - KJV) come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us.” Eph. 4:29 - 5:2.

“A corrupt communication…. is any communication that will eclipse from the mind the view of Christ that will blot from the soul true sympathy and love. It is a communication in which the love of Christ is not expressed, but rather, sentiments of an unchristlike character.” 6 BC 1117.

“Cease to dwell upon the shortcomings of others…. Refrain from saying anything that might detract from the influence of another; for by these words of criticism, you blaspheme God’s holy name as verily as you would were you to swear.” 5 BC 1093.

“Criticize no one.” 5 T 334.

“Slander no one.” Tit. 3:2.

“”Many indulge in criticism and accusing. By giving expression to suspicion, jealousy and discontent, they yield themselves as instruments to Satan.” COL 341.

“Impatient, fretful words are an offering presented to his Satanic majesty.” 1 T 310.

“The disposition to censure our brethren is displeasing to God.” PP 420.

“In your hearts do not think evil of each other.” Zech. 7:10.

“Do not speak a word that would hurt the feelings of another.” Letter 29, 04.

“Never allow censure to escape your lips…. Let cheerful, happy, loving words fall from your lips.” 1 T 704.

“Those who criticize and condemn one another are breaking God’s commandments and are an offense to Him. They neither love God nor their fellow beings.” 7 BC 937.

“Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him…. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted,and by your words you will be condemned.” Matt. 12:34-37.

“The Holy Spirit does not work with men who love to be sharp and critical…. Some have the habit of squaring for combat. God is not honored in this. Keep back the sharp thrusts; do not learn in Satan’s school his methods of warfare. The Holy Spirit does not inspire the words of censure.” TM 248.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30.

“The government of the kingdom of Christ is like no earthly government. It is a representation of those who compose the kingdom…. His court is where holy love presides, and whose offices and appointments are graced by the exercise of charity. He charges His servants to bring pity and loving kindness, His own attributes, into all their office work, and to find their happiness and satisfaction in reflecting the love and tender compassion of the diving nature on all with whom they associate.” 5 BC 1111.

“Those who faithfully carry forward the work of Christ, representing in word and deed the character of God, fulfill the Lord’s purpose for them, and Christ takes pleasure in them. 7 BC 956.

NOTE: When we join Satan in his work of accusing and criticizing others (for he is the accuser of the brethren - Rev. 12:10), we open the door not only to his taunts against the other person, but also to his taunts against ourselves. Since we are all sinners saved by grace alone, we are dependent upon Jesus for our sense of peace and freedom from guilt.

By opening our minds to criticism of another person, we separate ourselves from our humble reliance upon Christ, and are then susceptible to coming under the attacks of the enemy. Let’s get off the judgment seat and let precious, wonderful Jesus be there. He is the only One who can judge us, love us, and acquit us at the same time!

“By pressing upon the soul the idea that God is displeased with us, Satan tries to torture us with unbelief.” Letter 24, 1895, pp 4-6.

“Let us trust God’s word implicitly, remembering that we are His sons and daughters. Let us train ourselves to believe His word. We hurt the heart of Christ by doubting, when He has given us such evidence of His love.” IHP 111.

“We must rise to a higher and still higher spirituality. We must cease all complaining, and cultivate the giving of thanks…. We must lay hold of the Supreme Power, and close our ears to complaining and faultfinding. Crush this inclination, and empty the soul temple of evil thinking. Let not one unhappy thought remain within.” TD 347.

NOTE: When Jesus perceived in His spirit that some of the teachers of the law were criticizing His work in their hearts, He said to them: “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?” Matt 9:4. “Entertain” means, “to consider, reflect on.” (Strong’s Conc.). It is taken from a word meaning, “wrath, fury, anger, rage, a state of intense displeasure based on some real or perceived wrong.”

In other words, when we think we see something wrong in another person, it is easy and natural to get into a mental state of “anger, rage and intense displeasure” against them, and Jesus says this kind of thinking is evil. Opening the door to the evil one, we invite his thoughts and his presence into our minds, and by beholding and focusing upon the sins of others we become changed, and like Satan in character.

“Through defects in character (‘thoughts and feelings combined’ - 5 T. 310), Satan works to gain control of the whole mind, and he knows that if these defects are cherished, he will succeed.” GC 489.

Let us stop allowing ourselves to criticize, either verbally or in our hearts, and “empty the soul temple” of these defiling thoughts (“In your hearts do not think evil of each other.” Zech. 7:10); “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every kind of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you…. And live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us.” Eph. 4:31-5:2.

REMEMBER: “Judas cultivated a disposition to criticize and accuse.” DA 717. And anyone who allows themselves to do this will eventually end up where he did. We will eventually criticize God and destroy our own souls, for in taking away grace and compassion from others, we take it away from ourselves as well. Instead, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher (perfecter - NIV) of our faith…. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness (agreement with God” 5 T. 743), no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Heb 12:2 and 13-15.

“Wrong dispositions and feelings are to be rooted out.” UL 218.

“There is in man a disposition to esteem himself more highly than his brother… and often this results in evil surmisings and bitterness of spirit.” DA 650.

“Roots of bitterness crowd out the precious plant of love.” DA 651.

NOTE: All around us are disabled people, damaged by sin and the pain of living in a cruel world and an unfriendly environment. If we follow the example of Jesus, we will be a source of healing, rather than adding to their brokenness.

“Jesus went through all the towns and villiages…preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.’” Matt. 9:35-38.

NOTE: “Harassed” means = “to bother, annoy, trouble. To disturb persistently, torment, pester, persecute.” So when we criticize others, we join in the same chorus that Satan is already singing, and the result can crush out the flicker of hope in the other person who is the recipient, or prepare the way for Satan to come in with the hammer blows of his suggestions. Instead, let us copy the example of Jesus in having compassion and bringing healing to others.

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Pr. 12:18.

“The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life.” Pr. 15:4.

“The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people.” As a result, “More and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number…. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits and all of them were healed.” Acts 5:12-16.

NOTE: What a prescription for church growth! One more comment about criticism and judging: Jesus said, “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse.” Matt. 9:16. It seems to me that this is what we are trying to do when we criticize. We are trying to put our ideas on the other person and expecting that to heal them. Ellen White says:

“No one was ever reclaimed from a wrong position by censure and reproach.” PP 519. “Never allow censure to escape your lips, for it is like desolating hail to those around us. Let cheerful, happy, loving words fall from your lips.” 1 T. 704. It is our business to build up the other person in love - both ours and God’s - and let the Holy Spirit do the changing of their lives that we so much want to see.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Eph. 4:29, 30.

NOTE: Criticism grieves the Holy Spirit which lives in that person and loves him or her and desires intensely to save and heal them, and is counting on us to assist Him in that saving work.

“A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue.” Pr 11:12

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will…grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ.” Eph. 4:15.

“Make a covenant with God that you will guard well your words.” 7 T. 243.
“We cannot afford to use the talent of speech in a way that will not benefit anyone.” TD 238.

“As followers of Christ we should make our words such as to be a help and encouragement to one another in the Christian life.” KH 138.

“Speak often words that will be a strength and an inspiration to those who hear. We are altogether too indifferent in regard to one another. We forget that our fellow laborers are often in need of hope and cheer. When one is in trouble, call upon him and speak comforting words to him. This is true friendship.” 7 BC 928.

“Never allow yourself to talk in a hopeless, discouraged way. If you do, you will lose much…. Talk and act as if your faith was invincible.” COL 147.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matt 5:7.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” v. 8.

“Anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.” v. 22.

“When we pray, ‘God be merciful to me, a sinner,’ He watches to see of we will manifest compassion toward those with whom we associate. This is the evidence of our connection with God.” WM 18.

“Many are zealous in religious services, while between them and their brethren there are unhappy differences which they might reconcile. God requires them to do all in their power to restore harmony. Until they do this, He cannot accept their services.” DA 311.

“Men may speak fluently upon doctrines, and may express strong faith in theories, but do they possess Christlike meekness and love? If they reveal a harsh, critical spirit, they are denying Christ. If they are not kind, tenderhearted, longsuffering, they are not like Jesus; they are deceiving their own souls. A spirit contrary to the love, humility, meekness and gentleness of Christ, denies Him, whatever may be the profession.” EV 632, 3.

“Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you…. Hold them in the highest regard because of their work. Live in peace with everyone. Make sure nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thes. 5:11-18.

“It should be our aim to bring all the pleasantness possible into our lives, and to do all the kindness possible to those around us. Kind words are never lost. Jesus records them as if spoken to Himself. Sow the seeds of kindness, of love, and of tenderness, and they will blossom and bear fruit.” 6 BC 1118.

“Cultivate tenderness, affection, and love that have expression in little courtesies, in speech, in thoughtful attentions. It is the inward adorning, the graces of the Spirit, the kind word, the thoughtful consideration for others that God values.” SD 83.

“He who receives Christ by living faith has a living connection with God…. He carries with him the atmosphere of heaven, which is the grace of God, a treasure that the world cannot buy. He who would be a saint in heaven, must be a saint on earth.” SD 112.

“The very best example to give to others is to be right ourselves, and then leave ourselves and our reputation with God and not to show too great anxiety to right every wrong impression and present our case in a favorable light…. It is the special work of Satan to cause dissension.” Ed 237.

“Criticizing others is Satan’s work.” OHC 233.

“Those who listen to [Satan’s] voice will demerit others…. Those who cherish this spirit can never enter [heaven] for they would criticize the angels.” OHC 234.