I've been pondering in recent weeks about the subject of criticism/judgment/accusation. Seems like there is so much of it out there, either flying at us from others or doling it out ourselves, whether overt or subconscious, just or unjust.
If you are a recipient of this unlovely trio, you know how painful it it, how it can paralyze you with insecurity and hurt. We feel misunderstood, our hearts race to our defense, and we might lash back, fight for justice and dig in to maintain our position. Or we might simply cave in, believing that we are really that bad and buy the whole package of "I'm not worth much." The net result is usually that we distance ourselves from the source and go into protectism mode, avoidance.
The other side of the coin is when we dish it out. "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks," so whatever we've been secretly thinking about someone might come out in a 'justifiable' situation, usually when we've got a sympathetic audience or directly at the target when the moment is right.
In one of those moments recently--when I was giving rein to my accusation of someone--the Lord spoke to my heart and in essence said, "Did you know that you're helping the devil do his work?" Ouch! The Word says that he is 'the accuser of the brethren," one of his main job descriptions. He's busy all the time working to tear us down, render us useless from within because we have to agree that we're not...whatever. So my critical and accusing words are working beautifully into his plan against that other person--and I feel right and righteous in my 'position.' After all, isn't my judgment right?
I see another whole realm of reason that God calls us to LOVE others (the second commandment, remember?). When we look past the sins and shortcomings of others, entrusting them to the Lord's (effective) working, we are participating in His work of healing, blessing, restoring--to His righteous standards. We can look past their faults and see their need. It cuts them the slack they need to continue on their own path of deliverance and healing. Don't I want that kind of mercy from others?
Another perspective the Lord has reminded me of is that everyone thinks they're right. If that weren't the case, they'd be doing it differently. Either that or they just didn't think about it, think it through, in which case they'd probably change if they knew they were wrong and could change. Seeing it that way diffuses the missiles I'm ready to hurl their way (which is because I think I'm right). Track that whole process back to its root, and I see that it's pride at work, a desire to control. It's really about me, not correcting the other person or helping them to grow.
Well, needless to say, I'm working on it! Having seen a fresh perspective from the Lord on this, I'm asking His help daily both to see where I'm operating in the wrong camp and get back to the right one, from my heart. I'm so glad for His mercy.