Jesus received the brunt of criticism and accusation—mainly from the religious establishment. If men would take issue with the sinless Son of God, we should not be surprised by modern-day critics and their verbal assaults.

Diabolos is translated “devil” in the English Bible. And the word devil means slanderer, or murmurer. So, the ultimate critic is the devil himself. In the book of Genesis, Satan slandered God to man when he spoke to the first couple—“Hath God said…” Satan questioned God, distorted the words of God, and defamed the character of God. He slandered God’s integrity and charged God with lying.

Later in the book of Job, Satan slandered man to God— “Take away the hedge and he will curse you to your face.” He pre-judged Job’s motives— ‘Remove the blessing and he will curse you to your face.’ The Slanderer attacked Job before God’s throne by saying to God that Job only serves you for what he can get from you. How quickly the devil brought railing accusations against Job, and today he is still the “accuser of the brethren” (Rev. 12:10).

The Bible explicitly condemns evil speaking, “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another? (James 4:11-12). 

The essence of the Law is to love God and love your neighbor. And when you speak evil of your brother you are breaking the law of God, which is the law of Love. When you speak evil of your brother, you are placing yourself above the Law. At that point you become a judge, and not a doer of the Law. Sitting in the seat of judgment is evidence of an exaggerated view of self, which is really symptomatic of a “god-complex.” Criticism is a form of self-boasting. It is thinking we are better than others. But James plainly asks, “Who are you to judge another?”

Bill McLeod remarked, “Judging and criticizing is the favorite indoor sport of Christians.” Someone said great men talk about ideas, but small men talk about others. Avoid those people who habitually attack and accuse. These individuals are not operating in heavenly wisdom, but in the wisdom which is “earthly, sensual, devilish” (see James 3:15).

Slander is the straw that siphons the dregs of depravity from the bottom of the human heart. We have all heard about a small vacuum cleaner called a “Dirt-devil.” You can pick one up at Home Depot. But the real Dirt-devil is a religious individual who can dig up filth on the best of saints. Anybody can find the dirt in others; you be the one who looks for the gold!

Critics are blind to their own arrogance and self-absorption. A proud man is suspicious of everyone else. But a humble man is more suspicious of his own heart than anyone else. It has been said, “The only difference between a proud man and a humble man is that the humble man is willing to admit he is proud!” Pompous, bloated, and puffed up individuals are unaware of the pride resident within themselves. How swiftly they can lay charges against God’s elect!

Critics are quick to judge others. Faultfinders seldom find anything else. Every church, and every movement has resident critics. They criticize the message and the messenger, which is really an attack on the Maker. Remember how the Israelites blamed Moses for their plight in the wilderness. And in so doing they provoked the Most High (see Heb. 3:8).

Critics don’t build up, they tear down. Like Job’s friends, they rip apart the souls of men. Chronic critics will not help you; they will harm you. It often takes time to discern duplicity and insincerity in people you are close to. When you detect a pattern of criticism and accusation in your supposed friends, you may need to remove yourself from those voluntary relationships. One tell-tale sign is when you feel worse after your conversations than you felt before talking with them. When it becomes obvious and clearly apparent that you are ill-affected, take action.

Critics practice the same sins they ascribe to others. ‘You are without excuse… everyone who judges; for in that in which you judge another, you condemn yourself, for you who are judging do the same things’ (see Rom. 2:1). The loudest critics, in exposing inconsistencies in others, are often exposing the hidden sins within their own hearts.

Critics seldom make a positive contribution to the cause. Their negativity discourages others. Criticism is the death-gargle of a non-achiever. One Puritan commented, “Where the devil does not go personally, he sends a critic.” Beware of anyone who is slow to compliment and encourage, but quick to condemn. Their inflated view of themselves renders them weak in the skill of exhortation, and even in heartfelt appreciation.

The Scripture is crystal clear— “Speak not evil of one another.” Is it not easy to catalog the faults in others? To look for blemishes and defects in others? To rehearse the failures of others? Is it not easy to repeat things we don’t know to be fact? To say things that put the worst possible light on the character of other people.

Enough of this mindless, careless, critical, and derogatory speech against others. Honestly evaluate your own heart before the Lord. The tongue is never satisfied, it must be crucified!

Mark the critics in your circle and avoid them.

Harold Vaughan


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Harold Vaughan

View posts by Harold Vaughan
Evangelist Harold Vaughan is the founder of Christ Life Ministries, Inc. To date, his ministry has led him to preach in forty-eight states and many foreign countries. Click on "ABOUT" in the menu bar to learn more about Harold.
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