Tuesday, September 9, 2008

09/09/08 - Becoming Defensive and Critical

Two qualities I believe destroy God's beloved Church are: defensiveness and a critical spirit.

It says in Proverbs we are iron sharpening iron with each other. What this means is that we are going to run into other people who point out our sins, our weakness, and those areas we need to work on. It does take grace to respond without becoming defensive!

Sometimes those areas are pointed out with no words, but other people's lifestyle or convictions. I know in my own life I've witnessed someones conviction and realize I need to raise the standard in my own life. Those people never know, but it has changed the course of some of my behaviors and thoughts.

Other times people have flat out pointed out what I need to work on. Sometimes it's been an "OUCH, that hurt" moment. Other times I've been defensive. And still other times God has given me the grace to respond with peace, calm and a simple "Thank you."

A few years ago I realized when I do become defensive, most likely it's a sin I need to work on and I just don't want someone else pointing it out! But praise God for people to point out our sins. If we are never cleaning up our lives, thoughts, or actions we just stay stuck in a rut with our walk with the Lord.

Second is a spirit of being critical. I have come to realize that being a parent has humbled me more than anything. I knew everything before I had kids! Amazing how that happens! I've begged God to remove any spirit of criticism in my life and allow Him to judge.

It seems that most people just feel that they have an opinion and they need to voice that opinion, no matter what! These are the steamrollers in my life (which I can easily fall into this category, just ask my family!), but when it is not in God's love and will, a steamroller can just have a critical spirit and pride to think their opinion needs to be voiced and heard.

Purifying our lives takes work, dedication to God's Word, and repentance, but along the path we have great reward as our lives are filled with peace and joy that only come from Him. When we, God's children, purge these from our lives, we function in love towards each other, thus the watching world sees Jesus in our relationships! How amazing would that be?


MInTheGap said...

Man it's easy to be critical, isn't it? We have our opinion and it's the only right one. The church can only make one decision for us to be happy. If they don't do it my way, I'm going to go home and play with my G.I. Joes...

Loving unity doesn't look like this. Great post, Heather.

Julie said...

Proverbs 26:17
[Like] grabbing a dog by the ears, [so] is a bystander who gets involved in someone else's quarrel.

This verse reminds me of that buttinsky sort of person who habitually points out the faults and failings of others. Defensiveness is often a natural reaction to such tactless behaviour. Grab a dog by the ears, or by the tail, and you're likely to be bitten!

Gentleness and discretion are necessary when pointing out others' sins and weaknesses.

hazel eyes said...

I never thought of it, but I am an opinion voicer.

I never really considered being defensive even though I was in social work for years. Yet as I think about it, being defensive is a barrier to becoming the best you can be.