“Why is it that folks feel they have a right to criticize and correct others?” I asked Ed, my old neighbour in Saskatchewan. Ed believes that it may be genetic as everyone seems to have a critical streak in them from childhood to old age. Children accuse parents of being able to find fault with them anywhere or at any time. Parents accuse teens of having an insatiable enthusiasm for criticizing everyone and everything. Most people end up blaming themselves from time to time. Politicians spend their lives criticizing each other. Ed summed up his opinions on criticizing by saying that everyone likes to correct and criticize others, but they do not want to be corrected or criticized themselves.
William Tell, famous for shooting an apple off the top of his son’s head in1307 is reported to have said: “Our present time is a criticizing and critical time.” I think that today, 2019 might also be described as a critical time. We are entitled to our own opinions, but our thoughts are not necessarily right except for ourselves. We can share our views but must not be surprised if someone wants to criticize them.
Some children are raised without encouraging words and have a steady diet of parental words that are critical and meant to improve them as children. Not just children, but everyone, needs to hear words that encourage them and show them approval. Some bosses leave their employees without any supportive words. People tend to work harder when they are appreciated and find support for their work from their employer. People may feel that some people in their lives will never be satisfied with their efforts. Do some people in authority live to find something wrong with those under them? Sometimes it seems so.
When we deal with others, we can encourage them or criticize them. The Bible reminds us that there is only one lawgiver and judge, God, who can save or destroy. The Bible also asks in the book of James, “But who are you to judge your neighbor? Brothers, do not slander one another.”
Jesus said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Jesus knew we have a distorted image of ourselves for we look at ourselves in a mirror seeing our reflection as right for who we are. A mirror only shows one side of us.
There is a hidden side of us that others don’t see, but God sees all of us. We cannot see ourselves fully and completely and need God's word to help us understand ourselves in His truth. What we think we see in others isn’t clear and full, for we only see a small speck of the other person. We may see others as having a great deal wrong with them like a big log rather than a speck. We are not God, who is all-knowing and perfect in his judgments. We leave God to correct and criticize others in His authority of truth and mercy. May God show us our own faults and remove them in the forgiveness of Jesus.