The Critical Spirit

We all know someone who has a critical spirit. Someone who is always adding to or correcting what others say or do. Someone who thinks they are always right, and others are always wrong. Someone who sees the worst in those around them and makes sure others are aware of this.

Stop criticizing people for where they fall short and start encouraging them for all they can be. “Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you also are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NASB).

What we are terribly deficient with is seeing that critical spirit in ourselves. For our own measure we use different scales that always seem to show us in a better light. We are experts in justifying our opinions. We feel just a little bit higher as we critique others a little bit lower.

If you must be critical then be critical towards yourself. “So let each of you scrutinize his own actions. Then if you do find something to boast about, at least the boasting will be based on what you have actually done and not merely on a judgment that you are better than someone else; for each person will carry his own load” (Galatians 6:4-5 CJB).

At the core of a critical spirit is pride. To look down on another, one must be standing tall in their pride. They must consider themselves higher to a degree that they are sitting in a place to criticize others. It is pride that lifts the critical spirit, and it is pride that keeps it there.

The more you criticize others, the more it says about you. “Why do you criticize or despise other Christians? Everyone will stand in front of God to be judged” (Romans 14:10 NOG).

The more you critique the more critical you are. The more you look for what is wrong the less you will see what is right. The higher the opinion is you have of yourself the lower your opinion will be for those around you. The critical spirit sees the worst in others and the best in themselves.

We’d be better off seeing the best in others and admitting the worst in ourselves. “Don’t act out of selfish ambition or be conceited. Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3 GW).

We often become hyper critical of churches, whether it be our own or others. We make a sport out of critiquing our Pastors and other leaders in our churches. We act as if we understand the whole movie while we are only focused on a single frame.

Whether it be a parent, boss, teacher or pastor – everyone is a critic until they become one, and then they understand. “First of all, then, I urge that petitions (specific requests), prayers, intercessions (prayers for others) and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all people, for kings and all who are in [positions of] high authority, so that we may live a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Timothy 2:1-2 AMP).

The critical spirit is even critical in their prayers. Instead of praying for the needs of others they will think themselves useful to God by pointing out the faults in others. Instead of lifting others up to God to help them they will call God down to judge them.

People need your prayers more than your criticisms. “…pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16 NKJV).

The critical spirit is a powerful weapon for the devil to use in creating division and animosity between the people of God. The devil does not need to attack us himself because he will use us to attack each other. Pride was born in hell and that is where we should cast our critical spirit.

Where pride rules, troubles begin. “Pride precedes a disaster, and an arrogant attitude precedes a fall” (Proverbs 16:18 NOG).

Stop looking for the faults in others and ask God to reveal the faults in yourself. Stop thinking it is you that must teach another and seek how they have something to teach you. Be humble enough to admit where your wrong and don’t think God needs your help to show everyone their errors.

The more clearly you see yourself, the less critical you’ll be of others. “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” (Ephesians 4:2 NLT).

We are called to have a discerning spirit but not a critical spirit. When we discern, we seek the Lord’s help to separate what is right from what is wrong and ask Him in all we should do. When we have a critical spirit, we decide what is right or wrong and take it upon ourselves on all we should do.

The maturity of your Christian faith is revealed in how you criticize other Christians. “For the Kingdom of God is…living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up” (Romans 14:17-19 NLT).

Friend, decide today to have a discerning spirit to root out that critical spirit to whatever degree it is inside you. Don’t think you are beyond being deceived and it will there that the Lord can show you in all the ways you are. Be willing to be wrong so that God can make you right.

Until you learn to admit where you are wrong, how can you expect to be taught what is right? “If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding” (Proverbs 15:32 NLT).

Blessings to you,

Paul Balius


4 thoughts on “The Critical Spirit

  1. Exactly what I needed to hear. What a burden it is. I’ve been asleep all my life and made myself a judge. I will read this everyday.

    1. I am always so pleased when the Lord gives me a correction because it is there I know He can change me. Thank you for your kind words and may your time with the Lord be a blessing.

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