Being critical of others is a very slippery slope. It hinges on NOT HAVING A LIFE or trusting a Holy God! Seriously, I have a hard time finding the time to be critical of others when I am in tune and walking with God. He keeps me extremely busy…and continually shows me things about me. I have enough to be concerned about without getting too involved in someone else’s business.
I haven’t always been this way. There was a time when I was more critical than I am now. With spiritual maturity and life experience, plus conviction–from God not others–I have grown and absolutely love finding the positive in people……! Proverbs 25:11 shows us how important our words are to others. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” When we choose to speak, it matters what we say.
I find often when people are criticized, it is because they are doing SOMETHING, whether people agree with it or not, but they are NOT SITTERS! They are DOERS. They may sink at times but at least they are out of the boat! Let’s just look at the actions of Peter. He often gets a bum rap. We could easily be guilty of thinking, “How terrible…he denied Jesus…3 times!”
But let’s look at it this way….he was the only disciple that got close enough to be accused of knowing him. He was the one who drew his sword and cut off the ear of the soldier that was a part of the angry mob who came after Jesus. And let us not forget that even though he sank in the water, after taking his eyes off of Jesus temporarily, he was the only one to experience walking on water because he was the one willing to get out of the boat. He sank….but he walked on water…he denied Jesus….but was forgiven and led many to Christ….I love Peter!!
He was anything but a “SITTER”. Grass didn’t grow under his feet nor his faith, and he did line up his words with his steps! He was human when he denied Christ. Fear got the best of him but he learned. He didn’t let the incident of denial, or his temporarily sinking, stop him. Getting wet didn’t stop him. He learned and kept right on going!
If you ask me, there is a lot more to admire about Peter than being critical of his denying Christ three times. I know I would probably be guilty of the same thing. I have asked myself–would I have gotten out of the boat and walked toward Jesus when He said come?
Recently I was in a conversation hearing someone criticize a TV evangelist. I don’t know this evangelist personally (he may be a wolf in sheep’s clothing or he may not be). Like Peter, his words, at some point, may have in some way denied something. But I look at the evangelist and what he does day in and day out–the good. I even know someone who gave their life to Christ after watching this person on TV and listening to their message. That person now attends a local church.
If I were to compare all the good this evangelist has done to my good , I would have to say the evangelist wins hands down for doing good for others. As I mature and grow, I do pray for potential wrong or denial or mishandling of Scripture by others or myself. I have found it best to leave it in the hands of a Holy God and not waste my energy or time being critical.
Instead, I have matured and realized that I am honoring God the most when I give full attention and effort to what God would want me to be doing. Never once has He told me to keep criticizing. HE has told me…..YOU GET BUSY! Drop your hands as to the concerns of others who I haven’t placed in your path. Listen to Me. Pray. Get out of the BOAT! I find Psalm 19:14 to be a good prayer for me. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
I believe our biggest regrets in life are going to be the things we didn’t do…in the name of Jesus. The risk we didn’t take!
I am giving myself and you, the reader, a challenge. Instead of finding fault or finding something to criticize about someone else, decide you are going to make such a difference in this world that maybe, just maybe, it will draw criticism from others as it did for Peter. He did a lot of things right!
Remember, it is easy to criticize water walkers from the dry and comfortable confines of the boat. Until we have chosen to “get wet” or to get close enough to be “accused,” then maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t criticize!
Proverbs 16:24, “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”