James 4:11-12 (NLT) ~
Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?
James 5:9 (NLT) ~
Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!
"Why in the world would she do it like that?" "Can you believe what the pastor just said?" "If *I* was in charge, it would have been done the right way." "Can't they just control their children?" "Why is she wearing that?"
Ouch! Critical words can cut like a knife and we all struggle and hurt when they are directed at us. But we all also struggle with letting them fly out of our mouth. I know I've been on both the receiving and giving end of criticism.
These verses in James are not verses we like to read, but the reality is that if we profess Christ, then it requires a change. Not just a heart change, but a change in our attitudes, actions and words.
When we choose to speak critical words of others, we are setting ourselves up as the judge. We are saying, "I am God and can deem what is worthy and not worthy." And that is a scary attitude to have because James also reminds us that we are going to be judged one day. We will have to give an answer for every piercing word that rolled off our tongue.
When I write these Wednesday words I am mostly speaking to myself. I don't want anyone to think that I have arrived or at least, that *I* think I've arrived. I struggle with this issue every day of my life and constantly have to work on not slipping into being critical.
My desire is to change this sinful behavior. And that is what it is no matter how much we want to "nice" it up; sin. If you struggle with this, pray and ask the Lord to reveal to you when you are slipping up. Ask Him to change those thoughts that lead to the words coming out of your mouth. Ask Him to help you begin to see people through His eyes.
Let's work together to encourage one another and to build each other up and not tear each other down.