The problem with criticism is that the victim simply cannot win. A critic does not feel the need to be consistent, or fair, simply critical. He is condemned if he does, and condemned if he does not.
But note that the standard that will be used to judge me will be the standard with which I judge others (Matthew 7:12). Is that a comforting thought? When you think of God using this criteria to judge you, do you sigh with relief or shake in fear?
Were you hasty in your judgment? Did you collect all the facts before speaking? You were merciful in your evaluation, right? And naturally, you considered his best interest when you passed on your criticism to others.
In that case, you have nothing to worry about. God will treat you with the same measure of mercy and kindness as you did your brother.
So why is it wrong to judge and criticize others?
- We Can’t See All the Facts: We are limited human beings. That means that we don’t always have the right information. God, on the other hand, sees everything (Psalm 139:1-10; 1 Corinthians 4:5). God knows the motives of our hearts.
There was a dog and a boy who disappeared. That night when the dog returned alone, there was blood on his fur. The father took the dog outside and shot him. The boy’s body was found the next morning hiding in the rocks with a dead lion beside him. Check all the facts, and even then be very careful before you shoot the dog!
- We Can’t Be Completely Impartial: We are the product of a lifetime of education (Acts 10:34,35; 1 Peter 1:17). We are taught to be repelled by caterpillars and termites, yet the African people eat them as delicacies.
We need to draw the distinction between someone who acts differently from me and someone who is wrong. We will have to avoid thinking there are only two ways to do a thing – “my way,” and “the wrong way.”
- It’s Not Our Place: Only the faultless can find fault (John 8:1-11; Acts 17:31) The Lord, the righteous judge alone can judge. Every time we have said why we should not criticize and judge we have contrasted this with the truth that God can judge.
Let’s be candid. This is a “saint’s sin.” We don’t murder, commit adultery, all those “terrible” sins. We just rip each other to pieces for minor infractions, we hand out sentences of death on the gallows for “J” walking. That’s what most gossip and criticism amounts to.
It is interesting how very hurt we become when we are the subject of criticism, and how quickly we develop amnesia when we are the critics.
Some believe that we can speak against others if it is true. “But what I said was true,” we protest (James 4:11,12). James simply says not to speak against our brethren. Period. “Dumping” on the church of Christ has become a cottage industry in some circles. Trashing one’s own local fellowship of the church has, too. I am fascinated by the personal pronouns people use with respect to their own church. “They aren’t friendly at this church.” “They don’t have a quality education program.” They aren’t evangelistic there.” My friends, if you are a Christian and you worship here, then the proper pronoun is “we.”