You will NOT find it listed among the spiritual gifts bestowed upon the believers, “those gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us,” nor is it listed among the “fruit of the Spirit.” Let’s see, “love, joy, peace, longsuffering…” and criticism? But criticizing the actions and motives of others continues to be a popular pastime in Christian circles. It has been said that one of the most difficult defilements of the spirit to deal with is the critical spirit. But what if the criticism is justified, a situation when wrong was done, willfully and unapologetically, and the offender stumbled as a result of their own foolish action? Do I find it more gratifying to criticize when I am firmly on the side of right, or is there perhaps a better response?
The prophet Samuel had every justification for judging his fellow countrymen as they demanded an earthly king. He spot-on right, for he knew their motive was wrong, they only sought a king to be “like all the nations,” to mimic the heathen cultures around them, to have a protector they could see. But instead of delivering a blistering rebuke, Samuel tempered his response with love. He gave his people a quick history lesson, reminding them that the Lord had always been their source of deliverance, whether it was when God “sent Moses and Aaron…Jerubbaal, and Becan, and Jephthah,” He always managed to deliver them “out of the hand of (their) enemies on every side.” But now they had rejected God as their king, seeking solace from an earthly king. They had certainly “done all this wickedness.”
Samuel, like a father gently disciplining his child, let his true affection show though for all his people to see. He turned his justifiable criticism into a cause for prayer and intercession. “Moreover, as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way.” Wow, what a lesson!
What is my response when I see others stumble, when they have fallen from fellowship with their Father? Am I quick to criticize or am I quick to intercede? We do have a responsibility to “reprove, rebuke, exhort,” but with “all longsuffering and doctrine.” Samuel was gentle in his rebuke, consistent in his prayers, always in search of that teaching moment. May I tone my criticism down and turn my intercession up, mirroring the mercy and grace that I have experienced from my Father.
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
Lord, temper my criticism with an overwhelming urge to intercede instead.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-3133-62bbeaee74872' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=3133&origin=wordpress.grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-3133-62bbeaee74872' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-3133-62bbeaee74872' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>