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The Gospel passage today reminds us of how careful and merciful we all need to be in our judgments. We may be wrong! Even when we are right, we can still be wrong in our response. We as a society tend to judge, analyze, and evaluate various things. The concern is when we begin to make judgments about people, are we doing so with a critical spirit or a merciful spirit?

A "critical spirit," is an obsessive attitude of criticism and fault-finding, which seeks to tear others down - not the same thing as what is sometimes called "constructive criticism." The only criticism that is ever constructive is that which is expressed in love to "build up," not to tear down. it is always expressed face-to-face, never behind their back. The person with a critical spirit usually dwells on the negative, seeks for flaws rather than good. This is an attitude we all need to be alert to.

Jesus basically gives us three types of instructions in this area. First in verses 37-38 he gives us an exhortation against having a critical spirit. Second in verses 39-40 he gives us a warning against listening to those who have a critical spirit. Third in verses 41- 42 he gives us an illustration of the foolishness of having a critical spirit.

It is critical that we deal with the critical spirit because it is destructive and harmful to our walk, witness, and our world. It is harmful to our spiritual walk because there is nothing that causes as many problems in our relationship with God as an unforgiving, unloving, and critical attitude toward another person. A critical spirit is harmful to our witness because the world is watching us and listening to us and they will not believe that we serve God of mercy and kindness unless we exhibit those traits ourselves. It is harmful to our world and by that, I mean our own personal world-that is our families, churches, and our workplaces. Certainly, very few things do as much damage and cause as much dissension within marriages, churches and workplaces as a critical tongue and attitude. Do you have a critical spirit? Pray and work for a merciful spirit.


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