Ambassadors For The Accuser
“Where the devil does not go personally, he sends a critic”, said a wise Puritan. Every church and every movement has its critics. Detractors never offer an unqualified word of approval. Unlike metal, their tongues get sharper after every jab. Being unsympathetic is one thing, but having a perennial critical spirit is another.
A Critical Spirit Violates the LAW OF LOVE. Jesus instructs us to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mat. 22:39). When a brother is overtaken in a fault, love demands considerate intervention (Gal. 6:1). Personal offenses require a “personal” confrontation—”If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him…alone” (Mat. 18:15). The goal in resolving issues is maintaining unity and peace in the household of faith. Love does not pretend no problems exist, but adheres to the scriptural pattern in resolving a matter.
People with a critical spirit exempt themselves from Christ’s command to love their neighbor. Career fault-finders eventually lapse into the “paralysis of analysis.” Their obsession with negativity prevents them from making positive ministry impact in the lives of others. Critics band together and feed off one another instead of investing helpful contributions into the lives of others.
A Critical Spirit Reflects the NATURE OF SATAN. The word “Devil ” means slanderer. Satan slandered God to man in Genesis when he questioned—”Hath God said…” (Gen. 3:1). In effect, he called God a liar. Later, he slandered man to God in the case of Job—”Hast not thou made an hedge about him…But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face” (Job 1:10-11). Maligning and vilifying are inherent in his fallen character.
Satan is called a malignant “accuser” of the brethren (Rev. 12:10). Someone said, “He that speaks a slander carries the devil in his tongue. He that receives a slander carries the Devil in his ear.” It is not superior “discernment” that causes men to smear the brethren. It is “Earthly, sensual, devilish” wisdom that comes from below (James 3:15). James goes on to say, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (v. 16). Satan is the architect of chaos and confusion. Those caught up in his scheme carry on the evil work of needless contention.
A Critical Spirit DISOBEYS THE WORD. Look at these clear mandates from God’s Word: “Speak evil of no man” (Titus 3:2). “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law” (James 4:11). “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Mat. 12:34).
A Critical Spirit CONTAMINATES OTHERS. Public slander, due to the internet, has never been easier. Why would any Christian choose to read a gossip column edited by/for the devil? Evil reports pollute the minds of those who hear these criticisms. You cannot hear God speak when your ears are clogged with the sewage of slander.
William Booth put it well, “I am too busy fighting my Lord’s enemies to have time to quarrel with His friends.” If we are accountable for every “idle word”, do you think we will be exempt from giving an account for speaking evil of the brethren? Or reveling in the verbal sludge of the critic?