Most marriages can not survive with it and children will NEVER thrive with it. Families, friendships and churches are destroyed because of it. It is the curse of a critical spirit.
What is a critical spirit?
Criticism can be anything from belittling, condemning, demanding, fault-finding, nagging, sarcasm, and scolding disapprovingly. A critical spirit is an obsessive attitude of fault-finding and judging others unfairly.
Criticism is destructive. It destroys the harmony of the home, and it destroys relationships.
Some of us can slap a religious label on our criticism and feel justified about our words and attitudes while we infect others with our ugly pride.
Women are especially good at criticism, and it goes hand in hand with nagging and even more-so it embraces gossip.
Plenty of men deal with a strong spirit of criticism too; it strokes their ego.
Criticism, nagging, complaining… it comes naturally and it is contagious.
A nagging critical spirit destroys relationships, leaving nothing but pain, anger and loneliness in it’s path. This disease of criticism comes from the tip of the tongue.
“And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.” James 3:6
Men will pridefully use a critical spirit to cover for their insecurities. They want others to view them as smarter, better looking, richer, stronger than others. The quickest way to obtain this supposed superiority is to belittle others, to criticize them. Unfortunately, they don’t understand that this attitude brings them down to the lowest of all levels.
The wives of know-it-all, critical husbands will become emotionally withdrawn and in time, bitter. They will dread public and family gatherings as he lets everyone know he is the ‘expert’. His children will usually grow up to be playground bullies.
For women, a critical spirit is usually about control. They want to manipulate everyone to look and act as they believe to be “right”. Gossip will usually rule the tongue of a critical woman as she longs for others to agree with her.
With her furrowed brow and haughty eyes she will drive her husband to the roof top (Prov. 21:9), physically and emotionally to escape from her constant nagging. Her children will rise up and never call her blessed, they will run as far as they can as soon as they can.
People grow weary of the critical person and will distance themselves as soon as they can.
There is a constructive criticism. It is used in a spirit of love and it is meant to lead, encourage and guide; not point fingers and scold.
- Do you find yourself correcting the children in harsh tones all day? When you correct them are you using negative words?
- Are you always pointing out what your husband is doing wrong? Are you dwelling on his shortcomings all day?
- Do you leave church commenting on how bad the sermon was, or criticizing someone’s behavior or appearance?
- The things you point out, are they sin or your preference?
- The things that drive you crazy about someone, are they unchangeable things about their personality? And should it be YOUR place to change those things?
A critical spirit that is not rooted in love and truth is sin. It is nothing but pride… a selfish pride, a pride that says you know best. A pride that says you can change and control others.
A critical spirit that is rooted in love seeks God’s truth. When there is constructive criticism it is for the person’s own good and done so with kindness.
Break the Chains
Some of us may have come from a home where there was constant criticism, with name calling and belittling that may have included anger or not.
Some of us may have grown up with no words of encouragement to lead us rightly and with no unconditional love.
Some may have grown up watching parents with no respect towards each other.
Maybe your critical spirit has been nurtured by your circle of friends or co-workers. Criticism is very contagious.
You will have to make some courageous and wise choices, not only for your sake, but for the sake of your family… AND for the sake of the gospel. You will need to exercise self-control as you learn a new way to respond to situations. And a new way to lead others to wise choices.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35
How to Fight the Disease of Criticism:
Take Your Thoughts Captive
- What you are dwelling on, is it true?
- Are you believing the best about the person?
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
“…whatever is true … honorable … just … pure … lovely … commendable, if there is any excellence … anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
Don’t Be a Hypocrite
- Hold yourself to the same standard you hold others to.
“…first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matt 7:5
Meekness, Gentleness and Love
- Always be willing to evaluate YOUR reaction.
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1
“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4
- patient and kind
- does not envy or boast
- not arrogant or rude
- not insist on its own way
- not irritable or resentful
- does not rejoice at wrongdoing
- rejoices with the truth
- bears all things
- believes all things
- hopes all things
- endures all things
- Love never ends.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands” (Proverbs 14:1).
I believe a woman has much power in the home and in training up her children and encouraging those around her simply with her words and attitude.
Are we aggressively and verbally beating others down or are we gently leading them, admonishing them to pursue righteousness?
We are setting the pace for everyone else. Guard your tongue. Guard your home! This is one of the greatest battlefields of spiritual warfare… let’s fight to win for the Kingdom’s sake!