Have you ever met someone who always had a critical or negative spirit? Recently in our church a guest Pastor led a bible study that touched on critics and one of the things that was mentioned was that no one wants to be around a critic. Their negative spirit drives others away and can suck the joy right out of a room. The Bible has much to say about critics and those who always have a negative spirit…
James 5:9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.
Philippians 2:14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing,
1 Corinthians 10:10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.
Criticism and negativity are attitudes of the kingdom of darkness not of God’s kingdom. It certainly can be easy for us to fall into the trap of being a critic but negativity and criticism does not honor God. As believers we should strive to be known as a contributor not a critic. A contributor is someone who seeks to build up and to give encouragement, help, praise, prayers, time, money and other resources; while a critic is simply someone who seeks to take and tear down. Let me share a couple of thoughts about the contrast of contributors and critics with you.
Contributors push forward the Kingdom, Critics hold it back
Contributors invest themselves and their resources in building up the kingdom of God, they sacrifice so that more people might be reached and discipled for Christ. Critics however use their words and energy to tear down the Kingdom and hold it back. Churches and ministries around the world have been halted and destroyed simply by the negative and critical spirits of a few members. Find a small, struggling church that hasn’t gone forward in years and I can guarantee you will find some very loud critics in it.
Contributors are invested in “the” ministry, Critics only value “their” ministry
Do you see the value in all ministry or only the ministries that meet your needs? I heard of an elderly congregation who refused to have Awana in their church because they said “our kids are all grown up, why would we want to spend money on that?”. Its sad but many people only value the ministries that they are a part of or that benefit them directly rather then being thankful for and invested in all ministries that are accomplishing evangelism and discipleship.
Contributors respond to the mistakes of others by encouraging, Critics see the mistakes of others as an opportunity to attack
Everyone makes mistakes. Sunday School teachers make mistakes, Deacons make mistakes, Pastors make mistakes, everyone makes mistakes. What’s important is that we learn from our mistakes and we allow them to be opportunities to build each other up in Christ. A critic however jumps on mistakes and uses them for leverage to divide and destroy others. Sometimes this is done intentionally and sometimes its done unintentionally but either way it destroys just the same.
Contributors are marked by humility, love and patience; Critics are marked by negativity, gossip and slander
If you are filled with the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) its hard, actually I would say its impossible to be filled with negativity and criticism. Are you someone who is patient with others? Putting others before yourself? Or are you someone who is constantly talking negatively about others? A Contributor builds up, a Critic tears down.
I am blessed to be the Pastor of a church of “Contributors”, at Fellowship we certainly aren’t a perfect church but we seek to build each other up and work together to advance the Kingdom of God, and that’s exactly what the New Testament Church is suppossed to look like.