Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Danger of Criticism

As Christians we’re instructed by the word of God to always “pray for each another” (Jam. 5:16), “support the weak” (1Thes.5:14), and “encourage one another” (1Thes. 5:11) in the faith. But ever so often we hear of strife amongst believers, as if we’re enemies, and believers taking each other to the courts.

A Matter of Unforgiveness
The Apostle Paul in his writing to the Corinthians admonished believers to discontinue these practices (1Cor. 6:1-8). He stated that Christians should forgive each other and reconcile their differences, rather than taking their problems through the secular court system.

The church has divine authority (1Cor. 6:3) to judge these matters, which are manifestations of the flesh warring against the spirit in the lives of carnal Christians (Rom. 8:5-8). Therefore, we must be willing to forgive because if we don’t forgive others, God will not forgive us (Matt. 6:15).

Jesus, recognizing the destructive power of strife said, “Every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Matt. 12:25). In other-words, a kingdom or family can prosper only by living in harmony; for “where envy and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (Jam. 3:16).

A Matter Concerning Choice of Food
Yet again, the Apostle Paul in his writing to the Romans made it very clear in chapter 14, that we should accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. Such as, one person believes it’s alright to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables.

Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t; and those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them, because they gave thanks to God before eating.

If we would take some time to examine our actions and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, we would find it easier to follow the Holy Spirit’s bidding as He alerts us when we’re criticizing to the point of condemning someone for whom Christ died.

Nevertheless, who are we to condemn someone else’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let Him judge whether they are right or wrong. Jesus warns us against judging (Luke 6:37), and encourages us to forgive others because He wants us to build healthy, enduring relationships that honors God.

A Matter Concerning Honor
Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor God. Therefore, while we live, our lifestyle should be to honor the Lord; but if we die, our lives should nevertheless honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and rose again, for this very purpose, to be Lord both of the living and of the dead.  
  • So why do Christians condemn another believer?
  • Why do they look down on another believer?
 It is because the enemy’s plan is to Steal, Kill and Destroy (John 10:10); to prey on the weak by sowing seeds of discord among the believers to have them preoccupied with putting out fires.

The devil does this simply by creating internal conflict between believers through spreading rumors, gossips, and false accusations. His aim is to weaken the witness of the believers and the effectiveness of the church in the community. But the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church (Matt. 16:18). The devil is already defeated! Jesus defeated him at Calvary, Hallelujah.

A Matter Concerning the Kingdom
Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. The Scriptures say, “As surely as I live,” says the LORD,”every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God” (Rom. 14:11).

Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. So let’s forgive and stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that we’ll not cause another believer to stumble and fall.

“The Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). If we serve Christ with this attitude, we’ll please God, and others will approve of us, too. So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and endeavor to build each other up.

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