Criticism

If we viewed others as broken people, who are JUST LIKE US–Broken, I’m convinced that there would be less criticism, condemnation, and judging in the world. Much like the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery, we would all have to drop our stones and walk away. I mean, who are we to condemn anyone?

The reality is we live in a broken world, full of broken people, who do what broken people do. And as broken people, we tend to only point out the brokenness in others, while ignoring or worse yet… denying that we ourselves are broken.

Before we can truly grow in spiritual maturity, we must all come to the same conclusion that apart from Jesus and His finished work on the cross, we are all doomed; we are undone; we are insufficient. However, I truly believe

WHEN YOU PUT GOD FIRST, YOU TEND TO SEE PEOPLE DIFFERENTLY

Putting God first, in effect, puts a lens over our eyes so that we see others through the eyes of Jesus! As a direct result, we should treat people differently; we should be more compassionate and filled with grace, understanding that we likewise are imperfect, and the benefactors of God’s great grace and compassion.

On one occasion, while pastoring in another state, I have to confess that I pre-judged another pastor who was in a neighboring town and was overly critical of his church and ministry. You see, this guy was a well-known pastor in the area that was on Christian TV, pastored the largest church in the area with more than 15,000 people, whose picture was plastered on billboards all over town… you know, “Pastor Big Shot” as I called him.

One day while meeting with another pastor/friend at Starbucks, guess who strolls in… Yep, big shot pastor guy! I thought to myself, “Oh boy, here we go. Look at him stroll in with his shades and leather jacket hanging over his shoulder.”  To my surprise, and I might add, dismay, he recognized my friend and asked if he could join us for coffee. We sat there for over an hour talking about ministry and the Kingdom of God, just encouraging one another. I walked away from that conversation with a whole new respect for this pastor, who just happened to be a “Mega church pastor on TV.” I can honestly say that he was a genuinely nice, caring pastor who had nothing but the best interest in mind for the people in our community. I know this to be true because just a few months prior he had led an initiative to help those in our community who’s homes had been flooded due to a major storm in the area. His church pumped thousands of dollars worth of clothing and water and other supplies to those in need. Sounds like something Jesus would want! This guy was Kingdom-minded par none! Not only that, but he shared some valuable insights that I took away that day at Starbucks that has molded some of my ministry thinking to this day.

I decided after that moment that I would always sow good seed and not pre-judge anyone or be too quick to criticize someone I didn’t understand or who didn’t think like me, dress like me, or talk like me.

Kind of brings to mind what the Apostle Paul said, “You will always harvest what you plant” — Galatians 6:7 (NLT).

Perhaps that’s why Jesus Himself, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged” – Matthew 7:1-2 (NLT).

Be careful not too jump to conclusions by criticizing or condemning someone, for someone else may just return the favor. Let’s walk in love as children of the Light (1 Thessalonians 5:5).

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