Issue of critical spirit. Mt. 7:1-5

Written by admin on February 15th, 2008

Having been a teacher much of my adult life, I have found that holding a critical spirit has been a great problem for me, personally. I seldom take things at “face value”. I look for deception and evil motives. I find some vindication of this in Mt. 7:15. But, I have missed out on a lot of joy by having such a critical spirit. I seem quite at home in this season of presidential primaries.

Perhaps there is a balance to be struck here. Perhaps, the teaching of Jesus for us to be “wise as serpents and gentle as doves” has an application here. Enjoy all that you can. But do not let the crooks have a free reign.

I realize that a critical spirit can, and often is, a cover for putting someone else down in order to put ourselves up as dominant in a relationship. Often, the message is that we are wiser, better, and could do things in a fine fashion. This is true in the classroom. It can be true in the family, and even in the church.

It is not difficult to hear (look at me judging again) someone misusing this passage as a proof text for foolishly not standing against any wrong. Often I hear persons glibly declare that we are not to judge others. It very quickly results in an affirmation of the “relativism” that dominates our popular culture. In his treatment of the law back in the fifth chapter of Matthew, Jesus clearly declares that God has some absolute demands that inform his laws for our lives.

Certainally, Jesus is reflecting here another basic principle of the Christian life. We are to seek what is best for others, even our enemies. We are not to be critical of others to tear them down, or to gain advantage. Rather, we are to be honest assessors of ourselves and of others as a means of moving and of encourage development in righteousness.

Judging should have a redemptive purpose. When it fails to have, it is evil.


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