"I wrote this morning about trying to eliminate a critical spirit. Then I totally
failed by this evening! I am disappointed in myself tonight."
Now, if you knew my friend, you would realize how shocking this was to read. Any time I have ever had the privelage of being in her company, the last thing you would ever think is that she has a critical spirit in any way, shape, or form, or that she was in fact capable of having a critical thought. I mean, it just isn't possible. I have seen her endure things that would have killed me and flooded me with judgement that she has handled with grace, elegance, and unbelievable poise. And, because of my experiences with her, I replied with this comment.
"On the other hand you can rejoice that you are aware of it so that you can acknowledge
that you are sturggling in this area (so am I), you are wise enough to pray about it,
mature enough to recognize that you passed an opportunity to succeed when given a chance,
and now know that Satan, who knows you want to improve, found a way to trip you up
so that you can battle again tomorrow. Personally, I think you did a smashing job."
I share this because if my sweet friend is dealing with a critical spirit, and I know how I have been dealing with it, I have to suspect that there is something in the air that means perhaps more of us are dealing with it and aren't talking about it because it's embarrassing. As godly women, the last thing we should be is critical. But my fear, isn't just in the fact that we have this battle raging in our hearts right now, my fear is in what we are being critical about.
I don't know her personal struggle in this area, but I am hyper-aware of mine.
1 Peter 3:4 teaches ust hat the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit is of great worth in God's sight. And because of Jesus, we know that He is the ultimate example of a gentle and quiet spirit. He loved, He spoke in love, He lead by example, He sought God every step of the way, and He allowed the light of God to lead others not anything about His physical appearance.
That is not what I do.
My critical spirit has been focusing on decisions, outward appearances, and my perceptions and then taking them as truth.
Decisions that disagree with the way I think things should go.
Outward appearances that I assume are a 'look at me and all I can do" attitude.
Perceptions that open the door for me to judge intentions.
And while some of that may be coming from things that just aren't sitting right with me for one reason or another, there is a much bigger reality to accept here.
Regardless of how different others may be, or as opposite as their behaviors and forward movement may be from mine, the truth remains that God can still use all of it for His glory whether He is actually the one leading it or planning to redeem it.
If someone in a position of leadership makes changes that I believe oppose the DNA of what they are leading and are in essence making a genetic modification, I have no business questioning what I don't know if God actually placed in their heart for a reason.
If someone with a platform uses their platform to draw people in one way but then waits for a back-door opportunity to present Christ, I have no business questioning the media they use to draw people closer in relationship.
Both of those are the very harsh and honest reality of what is going on in my heart. And my friends post, brave, vulnerable, and raw, gave me the permission I needed to admit my problem to more than just my husband. Why? Because if she's dealing with it and I'm dealing with it, on the off chance that someone else might be dealing with it, we have to be willing to talk about it, examine it, realize its source, and pray against it independently, together, and for each other.
It's not just that we aren't given a spirit of fear, we are in no way given a critical spirit either. Rather, we were given the Spirit of God, meant to empower, strengthen, and cry out to Him on our behalf. And if anything else is in us, we have to be willing to acknowledge it didn't come from God and it has a much different, darker source that needs to be addressed. It's high time we realized just how deceptive that source is, the lies he is whispering in our ears to instigate our attitudes, and by the authority of Jesus, kick him out of our thoughts every time he tries to creep back in.
Lord, you did not call us to be critical, but compassionate. You didn't call us to judge, but to pray for Your eyes to see. If there is anything in us that is critical, remind us that regardless of our perception of what we are seeing, it is not beyond your leading or redemption. Above all else we know that Your ways are not our ways and that You can use anything to achieve Your purposes. Help us to trust You more than what we perceive. We ask all this in the mighty, powerful name of Jesus, Amen.