Being unduly critical of others is a behavior pattern that not only destroys our relationships but also blinds us to our own weaknesses.
Much torment comes to people’s lives because of judgmental attitudes, criticism and suspicion. Multitudes of relationships are destroyed by these enemies.
In the area of judgment, the mind is the battlefield. Thoughts—just “I think”—can be the tool the devil uses to keep a person lonely. People do not enjoy being around someone who needs to voice an opinion about everything.
Being judgmental, opinionated and critical are three sure ways to see relationships dissolve. Satan, of course, wants you and me to be lonely and rejected, so he attacks our minds in these areas.
According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, one of the Greek words translated judge is partially defined as “to form an opinion” and is cross-referenced to the word sentence. God is the only one who has the right to condemn or sentence; therefore, when we pass judgment on another, we are, in a certain sense, setting ourselves up as God in his life. That puts a little “godly fear” in me. I have a lot of nerve, but I am not interested in trying to be God!
These areas were once a major problem in my personality. I was critical because I always seemed to see what was wrong instead of what was right.
Some personalities are more given to this fault than others. Some of the more jovial personality types do not want to see anything but the “happy” or “fun” things in life, so they really don’t pay much attention to the things that could spoil their enjoyment.
The more melancholy personality or the controlling personality often sees what is wrong first; generally, people with this type of personality are generous in sharing their negative opinions and outlook with others.
Thousands of things we encounter every day are neither right nor wrong but are simply personal choices—choices people have a right to make on their own without outside interference.
My husband and I are extremely different in our approach to many things. How to decorate a house would be one of those things. If we go out to shop for household things together, it seems Dave always likes one thing, and I like something else. His opinion is just as good as mine, and mine is just as good as his; they are simply different.
It took me years to understand that there wasn’t something wrong with Dave just because he did not agree with me. Of course, I usually let him know that I thought there was something wrong with him. Obviously, my attitude caused much friction between us and hurt our relationship.
The Problem Is Pride
Judgment and criticism are actually the fruit of a deeper problem—pride. The Bible repeatedly warns us about being high-minded (see, for exampe, Romans 12:3).
Whenever we excel in an area, it is only because God has given us a gift of grace for it. If we have an exaggerated opinion of ourselves, it causes us to look down on others and value them as “less than” we are.
This type of attitude or thinking is detestable to the Lord, and it opens many doors for the enemy in our lives. We must have a holy fear of pride and be very careful of judging others or of being critical of them (Gal. 6:1-3).
Each of us belongs to God, and even if we have weaknesses, He is able to make us stand and to justify us. We answer to God, not to each other; therefore, we are not to judge one another in a critical way (Rom. 14:4).
The devil stays very busy assigning demons to place judgmental, critical thoughts in people’s minds. I can remember when it was entertaining for me to sit in the park or the shopping mall and simply watch all the people go by as I formed a mental opinion of each of them—their clothing, hairstyles, companions and so on.
We cannot always prevent ourselves from having opinions, but we do not have to express them. I believe we can even grow to the point where we do not have so many opinions, and those we do have are not of a critical nature.
I frequently tell myself, “Joyce, it’s none of your business.” A major problem is brewing in your mind when you ponder your opinion until it becomes a judgment.
The problem grows bigger the more you think about it until you begin to express it to others or even to the one you’re judging. It has then become explosive and has the ability to do a great deal of harm in the realm of relationship as well as in the spiritual realm. You may be able to save yourself future problems by simply learning to say, “This is none of my business.”