“The sin we have so foolishly committed.” Nu 12:11 NIV
When Miriam criticized her brother Moses because of the wife he chose, the Lord heard and she was smitten with leprosy. Maybe you grew up in a family that was forever finding fault, and now you hear the same tone in how you talk to your children. You can’t enjoy God’s blessings because you’ve been programmed to inspect, nitpick, and form opinions—usually negative ones. The Bible says, “If you want to enjoy life and see…happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil” (1Pe 3:10 NLT). The definition of the word “criticism” [dwelling upon the perceived faults of another with no view to their good] should cause you to pause and think. First, there’s the word perceived. Often your perceptions aren’t accurate; there are always circumstances you don’t understand. Next we come to the words dwelling upon. We’re inclined to walk through life saying, “That’s not right,” or “I wouldn’t do it that way.” You say, “I’m an analytical person, it’s how God made me.” That’s fine, but the problem comes when you choose to dwell on your observations—when you can’t set them aside. You say, “But how can I help somebody if I don’t dwell on what they’re doing?” That’s why the last part of the definition—with no view to their good—is so important. It’s not wrong to dwell upon somebody’s faults, provided you do it in a nonjudgmental way with a view to helping them find a solution. Does that mean it’s okay to discuss it with a third party? Only if you can end the conversation by saying, “Let’s pray about it, keep it in confidence, and try to help.”
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