Exposing the Critics Den: Matthew 7:3-5
“3) And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4) Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 4) You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew‬ ‭7‬:‭3‬-‭5‬
Jesus now exposes the critics den. There are two sides to this conversation. We can be either the critic or the criticized. Neither are good. I will briefly touch on both in this post.
Jesus pointed out that we are guilty of hypocrisy when we judge others for what we ignore or excuse in ourselves. Hypocrisy means “two faced.” This happens when we judge others for what we are guilty of ourselves. A critical spirit is always self blinding.
Two truths help me be patient with others. First, I sincerely believe there is good in everyone. I try to focus on the positive and not the negative in others. My motivational gift is most likely mercy. It is easier for me to overlook a transgression than trip over the trivial in others.
Second, because I’ve struggled with so many things in my own life, it’s usually easy for me to be patient with others and cut them slack.
I often fall into the opposite trap. I am much harder on myself than I am with others. It’s taken me years to develop a biblically healthy self image to the point of loving and accepting myself. This has been a long journey.
I’ve had to depend on the Holy Spirit to sort out many log jams in my own life. Exposing deception and replacing it with truth has been a continual process for me.
If you struggle with a critical and judgmental spirit… you most likely need a grace encounter in your own life. It is so much better to build bridges of grace than walls of judgement with others. This is a key to healthy relationships.
This leads to the discussion on how to deal with people who position themselves as critics against you. There was a time in my life when I felt like Daniel in the critics den. I allowed the negative comments and opinions of others to eat me for lunch. It threatened to consume me. But by God’s these fierce lions are being tamed.
It happened when I discovered 1 Corinthians 4:3-5. (Please pause and read!) Paul wrestled with this same issue of harsh critics. He was able to reduce it to a small thing by sincerely examining his own heart, living with a clear conscience and focusing on what God thought about him.
Critics are always eager to throw stones. Paul’s approach can reduce stones to pebbles. We have little control over what others think or say about us, but we can control how we respond.
Paul’s response in 1 Corinthians 4:3-5 helped him avoid spending time in the critics den. Instead, he focused on a relentless pursuit of God and His calling on his life. He was able to “press on” for the glory of God without being weighed down by the negativity of others.
I’ve also discovered the value of a good sense of humor seasoned with personal humility. Like good ointment, these can take the sting out of criticism.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global