Despite my reference to the second Quiet Riot album, it seems to me that those with the “Gift of criticism” have come out in full force lately. I’m hearing about critical people all over the place, towards other Pastors, friends, and yours truly. While I wish I could say that I’m an expert in dealing with criticism, I’m not. I do, however, feel there is a Biblical “filter” to what criticism you allow in and what doesn’t get listened to:
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (James 3:13-18NKJV)
James 3:17 is the filter for me when I hear negative or critical comments. If the person doesn’t meet this standard, their comments don’t get any of my time because it’s not wisdom from above. According to James, if it’s not from above, then it’s from below, which he describes as “earthly, sensual, and demonic”. (Who wants demonic advice anyway?)
Bottom Line: if a person does not have the heart of God on a matter, why listen? If they do have God’s heart and reflect it in their actions and tone, then I’m all ears because God’s speaking through them.