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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

The Gift of Criticism

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
Matthew 7:1

I’ve often teased that I have the gift of criticism. I am GOOD at it! But unfortunately, it is never used for the glory of the One who saved me. With an obscure verse from James, God began a work on my critical spirit several years ago. The verse is James 2:4, and reads, Haven’t you discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

In his divine mercy, the Lord began to put every critical thought or word in bold print in my ears, in my mind and in my heart.
For the first time, I could see how ludicrous and arrogant my self-talk, and too often, my words, were. I could see the damage they created in me and in others. How could I, saved from the pit of hell by the Lord’s mercy and grace, have any “superiority” over another person created in His image and precious in His sight? Most sobering, though, was hearing those thoughts and words reproduced in the mouths of my precious children. Criticism is contagious. It is the result of judging others and exalting self.

The passage in James ends with Mercy triumphs over judgement! (James 2:13b). I want to be characterized by mercy. I want to see others through the eyes of Jesus. I want to love my neighbor in my thoughts and words as well as my actions.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:14).

Jill Hardin

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