Prayer of Repentance: Lord, I come boldly to Your throne of grace and repent for operating with a critical heart. For ears, I’ve allowed this stronghold to grow so that even my thoughts and the words from my mouth are critical rather than life giving. Thank you for shedding Your light on the pervasiveness of giving way to criticisms and harsh judgments. Your truth sets free as you transform me into Your image.
A critical heart grows from seeds that we plant and water over time. It does not spring up all at once, otherwise we would be disgusted by its fruits and pull it out by the roots immediately. Oh no, the enemy has far more longstanding plans for us, for he prowls like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8). A critical heart can grow from giving way to gossip, jealousy, pride, and even from the throws of rejection. It can also come from gift frustration.
Imagine a dear soul who is operating in a support role where they are not in charge, yet he/she has the gift of administration. For such a one, he may seem to be operating in a limited position where he cannot make decisions that would make processes more efficient or bring order out of chaos. However, the truth is that God can use anyone, at anytime, to do anything. Rather than turning to criticizing and judging others, how much more faith it would take to trust that God orders our steps. As He gives opportunity to share our ideas, we can propose divinely innovative ideas to make the complex processes simple that will meet the needs of situations we operate within – not from a heart of criticism, but out of our abundance with unhindered fellowship with our Beloved (Daniel 1:20).
The natural tendency of mankind is to criticize the situation and people involved and with pride and arrogance think/say, “I could do it better if I was in charge!” These words are often spoken to others in private settings in what we call venting. Oh, how we could use our precious time on this earth to pray for the right timing and a prepared hearts to deliver an influential word aptly spoken that would bring life to the hearers, rather than tear them down.
A thankful heart is strangled by the roots of criticism.
The roots of criticism can grow deep and penetrate not only our work lives but relationships with friends, loved ones, and every area until it is part of our personality and we are left enjoying NOTHING. We can even continue down this slippery slope and become critical of God and how He handles our lives or the lives of others – which is very dangerous indeed.
When we operate from a critical heart, how restricted are the blessings of Heaven and the flow of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Would that we trusted God with the details of our lives to this extent, oh what a mighty way He would make for us. Whether or not we were promoted to positions of greater responsibility, we would make decisions that are just, fair, and efficient with a humble heart. If the Lord saw fit to keep us in a position of support, we would be such blessings for those to whom we submit and those fountains of everlasting life would flow freely from us – to deliver a word in season that would be full of wisdom, grace, and divinely influence the processes and systems of mankind to give life to all.
Oh beloved, are you seeing the negative in every situation? Are you frustrated and even depressed that you can’t affect change? Are you angry at everyone and everything around you, but you can’t put your finger on why? Come and find rest for your soul, release judging others with critical thoughts and words. This is not the language of heaven. Heaven does not understand why we would spend time on such a life draining act, when we could be filled with all the fullness of God and out of a heart of overwhelming love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentles, and self-control we would respond to all aspects of life.
How fragrant our lives would be to Him, by our faith to wait upon God to even make the time and place for us to speak wisdom on how to improve situations. We would be speaking Heaven’s language, free of critical words and thoughts. How much time we would save if we trusted God, rather than trusting our limited judgments about a situation.
Before the stench of criticism permeated, now is the sweet savor of hope.
I am not guiltless of a critical heart, for I watered the seeds for years. I am just aware and repentant now, which makes all the difference. The Lord shined His light on my sin of judging others with a critical heart in pride and arrogance, for this area needed to be given up and transformed into His image. I was so restless and unhappy with life, yet I could not pinpoint one specific thing reason. It was everything in general I was dissatisfied with. He did not let me continue unchanged. With His penetrating truth that separates joint and marrow, I finally recognized how invasive a critical heart can be and how it can damage all forms of relationships, interactions with others, and even my ability to be content.
Oh what He can do with a heart that is fully committed to Him, for the “eyes of the Lord search to and fro to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him” (II Chronicles 16:9). Oh how He can pour through a heart that is pure and free of judging and criticizing others. Oh how He can speak through a mouth that does not spew forth criticisms but utters words of life, peace, and wisdom that are aptly spoken. This is just the beginning of being used by Him.
Be encouraged, for if the Lord is dealing with this area in you, how great will be the outcome when you surrender. You will be able to recognize the tendencies to judge and criticize that before were hidden. If you give way to spreading seeds of criticism and judgments out of habit, repent quickly and continue to proclaim, “Oh Lord, may the words of my mouth and the medications of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”