IS CRITICISM AFFECTING YOUR PROGRESS?
"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" (Matt. 7:1-2) MSG
Definition of criticism from the Oxford Dictionary: "The expression of disapproval of someone or something on the basis of perceived faults or mistakes."
In Hebrew, one word for criticism and/or a critic is biqqo^reth, (Strong's Concordance H1244) from the root word baqar (Strong's Concordance H1239). This word is a picture of one who is inspecting you, and examining you, so as to scourge you.
JESUS, JOHN THE BAPTIST AND CRITICISM
We have all been the critic at some time in our lives, and we have all been the object of someone else's criticism. The truth is we must expect to be criticized. It is not our assignment in life to please men, but to please God.
John the Baptist and Jesus were constantly criticized. "For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners'" (Luke 7:33-34). If we are still trying to please men, we are not the servant of Christ. (Gal. 1:10).
MOSES AND CRITICISM
Moses knew first hand the effects of criticism from those closest to him; Miriam and Aaron. Jesus says that a man's foes are they of his own household (Matt. 10:36). Behind his back they criticized Moses for marrying an Ethiopian woman, (Num. 12: 1-2), but the spirit behind that conversation was envy and jealousy of his position and power in God. This critical spirit evoked anger from G0d and brought immediate negative consequences to Miriam (Num. 12:9-10).
The greatest danger of one with a critical spirit is how another man's progress can be interrupted (Num. 12:15-16). This critical spirit was so dangerous, it shut the whole Hebrew camp down from journeying for seven (7) days. Almost all criticism is malicious and motivated by anger, jealousy, envy and even a hidden agenda within the perpetrator. One of the reasons people secretly criticize is to make their victim look incompetent, in order to advance their own position.
The Book of Romans teaches us that those who criticize are practicing the same thing they see in others. "Therefore you are without excuse, O man, who ever you are that judges; for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself, for you who judge do the same things" ( Rom. 2:1). Being critical is a serious offence against God Himself. A critical spirit is the OPPOSITE of loving your neighbor as you love yourself.
THE APOSTLE PETER AND CRITICISM
Your very obedience to the will of God in your own life can evoke great criticism. When the Apostle Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him and accused him by saying "you went into a house of uncircumcised men and ate with them" (Acts 11:2-3). Peter did not retaliate in anger or defense, but wisely responded with a spirit of humility and laid out the facts. He was operating in direct response to the voice of God, and was criticized.
The Spirit of the LORD is cleansing His body. " Out of the same mouth proceeds blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not so to be. Does a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and the bitter? (James 3:10-11). Critical words bring great emotional wounding and have the ability to damage one's own soul. The very word for being critical in Hebrew comes from the root baqar and consists of three letters:
Qoph= weapon and a hole of an axe
In looking at "criticism" from an Ancient Hebrew perspective, think of this the next time you are tempted to be critical. We are now the house of God. Critical words are as a weapon, an axe wounding the head. Your head is the vessle for your mind, which Hebraically is your soul (your heart, your will and your emotions). Again, criticizing each other is like wounding someone in the head with an ax. That image should be enough to give us pause.
The Holy Spirit, when asked, will empower you today to have victory over criticism, whether you are the victim of a critical spirit, or the perpetrator of the criticism. For those who have been hurt and otherwise damaged by this evil spirit, I encourage you today to remember that God will not be mocked. "But, no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, [those in whom the ideal Servant of the LORD is reproduced]; this is the righteousness or the vindication which they obtain from Me [this is that which I impart to them as their justification], says the LORD" (Isaiah 54:17).
When we feel the temptation to be critical, there is an antidote. We must stop and examine our own selves. Jesus said it clearly: "And why do you look on the splinter that is in your brother's eye, but do not consider the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull the splinter out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First cast the beam out of your own eye, and then you shall see clearly to cast the splinter out of your brother's eye" (Matt. 7:3-5) Let's corporately ask God to forgive us of and deliver us from this sin. We may even discover why we are so critical of others.
Blessings and honor,