By Andrea Merrell
Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize
their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment.
That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging.
Matthew 7:1 MSG
They say “the Devil is in the details.” Experts do not agree as to who first made this statement, but there is much truth to be gained from it.
Since mistakes are commonly made in the smallest details of a project—especially by overlooking or underestimating them—we need to be cautious and alert, using a critical eye to eliminate these mistakes. Notice I said critical eye and not critical spirit.
When we’ve been gifted with discernment and an eye for detail, it’s very easy to slip over into criticism. There’s a fine line between the two, and it’s important for us to know and understand the difference.
Pastor and author Chad Norris explains it like this:
It is when we develop a critical spirit that we are actually playing the role of judge in people’s lives. We were never called to judge one another. I want my airline pilot to have a critical eye at all times. I want my surgeon to have a critical eye as he operates on my body while using the competency he or she has garnered through hard work and practice. A critical eye is not a critical spirit. A critical spirit says, “I know better than you. I am better than you. I see things more clearly than you do, and when you begin to think like me, you will be correct."
The Bible tells us not to think we are better than we really are. Instead, we are to esteem others, preferring them above ourselves. When we judge and condemn others because they don’t measure up to our standards or expectations, the law of sowing and reaping will cause those things to come back to our doorstep. As Matthew says, that critical spirit has a way of boomeranging.
If you’re dealing with a critical spirit, ask God to give you a heart of compassion. Look for the best in others, and they will look for the best in you.