Devotional

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others.The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend,‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” – Matthew 7:1-5. 

Matthew 5:9 says, “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” When we stand before God someday, we want to hear Him say that we are His children. His children should be peacemakers, but being a peacemaker is no small task. Not that living any of the beatitudes in the book of Matthew, is easy. But being a peacemaker would be easier if we could stop criticizing.  

Sometimes, asking ourselves “why” is exactly what we need. If you find yourself constantly criticizing others, ask yourself: Am I doing it because I’m noticing an issue and humbly seeking change? Or am I doing it because I enjoy finding problems? The question is are we living a Christlike life if we are criticizing. Christians should be the most loving people around. 

Also, remember the ways your words can impact others. Your comments, even spoken without malice, may hurt someone. Think about this before you spread rumors or listen to gossip. These words can sink into the heart and really cause deep wounds. But there are also times when we will be the recipients of criticism. 

There are many ways to respond to criticism. It can be helpful to pray about what you hear. The perspective you receive may be valid and valuable. As God leads, you may seek to change. But never allow criticism to impact your commitment to the Kingdom of God.

Jesus knew about criticism. Mark tells us how one day Jesus and His disciples were having a meal with tax collectors, and the religious teachers saw that He was eating with sinners and tax collectors – and they criticized Him. They failed to understand the work Jesus had to do, with ordinary people who needed a hand up in life, and yet He was rebuked and misunderstood. It was central to the life of Jesus that He mixed with and befriended ordinary people, called sinners. The Scribes and Pharisees often confronted Him head-on and demanded He leave. In Nazareth, His hometown, He was criticized. Men despised and rejected Him; He was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief. The Jews mocked Him, but Jesus never retaliated or sought revenge. He withstood the criticism and insults without taking matters into His own hands.

Jesus moved on showing grace and mercy – as we should when people criticize us. Maybe we can learn something and change our ways; but nonetheless remember God is the judge, not you. He will sort everything out in the end.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How do you feel when you are criticized? Do your feelings dictate your response to criticism?
  2. What can we do this week to criticize less?