DayBreaks for 10/30/14 – Jesus’ Criticisms (and Mine)
Romans 14:10 (MSG) – So where does that leave you when you criticize a brother? And where does that leave you when you condescend to a sister? I’d say it leaves you looking pretty silly—or worse. Eventually, we’re all going to end up kneeling side by side in the place of judgment, facing God. Your critical and condescending ways aren’t going to improve your position there one bit.
Let’s face it: it is very easy to be critical about things, isn’t it? I’m not saying that it isn’t deserved, or even right at times, to be critical. People are critical of politicians (rightfully so!). We criticize our partner’s looks or their cooking or driving. We criticize our children when we think they don’t put forth enough effort at school or at their chores or sports. We can, it seems, criticize just about anything and everything. And we feel justified for it, too, don’t we?
Often we criticize things or people we don’t understand. Often we don’t make much of an effort to understand them, either. We just listen to the criticisms others espouse and jump on the band wagon.
As I said, though, criticism isn’t necessarily wrong. Jesus shared some criticism toward the religious leaders of his day. I think it might be instructive to see the kind of things he criticized and see how our criticisms stack up:
Here is a list of Jesus’ criticisms about religious leadership in his day:
They did not practice what they taught (hypocrisy).
They put heavy burdens on others but not themselves (legalism).
They sought and loved public recognition (pride).
Status, respect and titles were important to them (arrogance).
They locked people out of the kingdom (judgmental).
They established laws to benefit themselves (greed).
They neglected to emphasize justice and mercy (bias).
They were accomplices to silencing the prophets (oppressive).
Kinda makes the things I criticize seem very small and petty by comparison. Maybe Jesus wants me to learn something about the art of criticizing and speaking out against the right things – things that have eternal significant and not things that really don’t matter.
PRAYER: Jesus, I’m sorry for the many times that I have criticized foolishly or in anger. Let me weigh my words and attitudes in light of the things that really matter! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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