I am so tired of the critical spirit.. Of carping and harping and gnawing negativity. [Of course, here I must be critical and negative for a moment to make my point, but trust me, it's but for a moment and with no smugness].
But I find in my advancing age, I am (thank God) becoming one of those generally "loving" people. I don't have a need to nag, criticize, put down, complain about . . . other people. I still catch myself sometimes subconsciously feeling superior to another because they are "lost" or caught up in some ignorance and sin. But I am quick and ruthless to put it down, recalling that THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD would I be. I remind myself often that if I can see the Truth and know Christ is the only way to God, it is not because I'm smarter or better or more spiritual. It is only because God has, in His sovereignty, deigned to retrieve me and open my eyes. NOTHING I am or have done has warranted any benefit or entitlement or rank above another.
And when I look . . . I see others made in the image of God; God's creatures who He has made, for His perfect purposes and made to be as they are because they fit exactly into His good, holy, intricate, creative, glorifying plan.
I don't want to be a source of negativity and complaint to someone. I want to be an encouragement. I take no pleasure in belittling, haranguing, putting down, eviscerating, correcting, condescending to, lambasting . . . especially as part of some secret, holier than thou combine, judging others, feeling grander than others. . . .
Instead, the Lord has imbued me with an increasing sense of empathy, compassion, tolerance, gentleness, peace-making, love, respect . . . toward others, because I don't see them as something alien or beneath God's creation, but as a part of who all He has made, fulfilling His majestic purposes. Who am I that would stand outside of His creation, judging, attacking, criticizing, condescending, berating, back-biting, undermining. . . . Blech! What foolishness and a repugnant state of being. . . .
This does not mean, of course, I throw in with the heathen, God-hating horde. There is evil--plenty of it--active in the world. There ARE enemies of God and His people. There are ubiquitous agendas attempting to erase God and the Lord's disciples from the earth and I am forever at odds with them.
But there is a subtle difference, when approaching the issues in the world, between being in a place where, like God you "rain on the just and the unjust" and "love your enemies" "returning good for evil" . . . VERSUS operating from a self-righteous platform where you think YOU are smarter, better, holier--a cut above . . . based on some innate personal quality of your own which you take credit for.
And so, you are ever critical and putting others down as if YOU are the judge and sovereign of the universe, responsible for your "obvious" superiority.
It doesn't convert or entice the lost when you are lording over them, sniping and harping. "This is the fruit of your Jesus?" they think. Whereas, longsuffering, gentleness, love . . . really does win the day in the end. Doing good to those that offend, abuse and use. But, then again, it is only by God's gift and power that you can operate from such a place. Again, no credit or sense of superiority can taken in just another, more subtle form of self-righteousness. Broken, humble, grateful, giving God all the glory . . . is the way. . . .