Wise Words – Beware of Criticizing Others

Wise Words
girl mouth
The tongue of the wise brings healing. —Proverbs 12:18 NIV

What is the strongest muscle in the human body? Some say it’s the tongue, but it’s hard to determine which muscle is the most powerful because muscles don’t work alone.

But we do know that the tongue is strong. For a small muscle, it can do a lot of damage. This active little muscular organ that helps us eat, swallow, taste, and begin digestion has a tendency to also assist us in saying things we shouldn’t. The tongue is guilty of flattery, cursing, lying, boasting, and harming others. And that’s just the short list.

It sounds like a pretty dangerous muscle, doesn’t it? But here’s the good thing: It doesn’t have to be that way. When we are controlled by the Holy Spirit, our tongues can be turned to great good. We can speak of God’s righteousness (Ps. 35:28) and justice (37:30). We can speak truth (15:2), show love (1 John 3:18), and confess sin (1 John 1:9).

The writer of Proverbs 12:18 spells out one of the best uses of the tongue: “The tongue of the wise brings healing” (niv). Imagine how we could glorify the One who made our tongues when He helps us use it to bring healing—not harm—to everyone we talk to.

Please guard each word we say so we reflect You and Your love. Help our tongues speak words of healing and not harm.

Encourage one another and build each other up. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 niv

By Dave Branon

Beware of Criticizing Others
Thank God the Tiger has no wings

Judge not, that you be not judged. —Matthew 7:1

Jesus’ instructions with regard to judging others is very simply put; He says, “Don’t.” The average Christian is the most piercingly critical individual known. Criticism is one of the ordinary activities of people, but in the spiritual realm nothing is accomplished by it. The effect of criticism is the dividing up of the strengths of the one being criticized. The Holy Spirit is the only one in the proper position to criticize, and He alone is able to show what is wrong without hurting and wounding. It is impossible to enter into fellowship with God when you are in a critical mood. Criticism serves to make you harsh, vindictive, and cruel, and leaves you with the soothing and flattering idea that you are somehow superior to others. Jesus says that as His disciple you should cultivate a temperament that is never critical. This will not happen quickly but must be developed over a span of time. You must constantly beware of anything that causes you to think of yourself as a superior person.

There is no escaping the penetrating search of my life by Jesus. If I see the little speck in your eye, it means that I have a plank of timber in my own (see Matthew 7:3-5). Every wrong thing that I see in you, God finds in me. Every time I judge, I condemn myself (see Romans 2:17-24). Stop having a measuring stick for other people. There is always at least one more fact, which we know nothing about, in every person’s situation. The first thing God does is to give us a thorough spiritual cleaning. After that, there is no possibility of pride remaining in us. I have never met a person I could despair of, or lose all hope for, after discerning what lies in me apart from the grace of God.

by Oswald Chambers

Jesus, Son of God

Luke 22:66-71

Jesus called Himself both the Son of Man and the Son of God. The first title emphasized His humanity; the second, His deity. He is the only person in history who was both God and man. Leaving heaven, He laid aside His divine glory and took upon Himself the robe of humanness (Philippians 2:6-7).

Who recognized His divine nature?

• Angels. At Christ’s birth, the angel Gabriel told Mary that she would bear a child and His name would be the Son of God (Luke 1:26-35).

• God the Father. When Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan, the heavenly Father declared, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Later, God affirmed this same truth and instructed those present listen to Jesus (Matthew 17:5).

• Satan and the demons. Knowing that Jesus was God’s Son, Satan challenged Him to use His supernatural powers to bypass God’s plan. Later in the same chapter, the demons saw Jesus and shrieked that He was the Son of God (Luke 4:1-41).

• Disciples. When these men saw Jesus walk on water in the midst of the storm, they worshiped Him and concluded He was the Son of God (Matthew 14:25-33). Peter later declared, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).

• Martha. When Jesus brought Lazarus back to life, his sister Martha said, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world” (John 11:27 NIV).

The world needs to understand who Jesus is. Whom can you tell about His deity?

Pleasing God

“Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.” (2 Corinthians 5:9)

Paul’s great ambition was to please his Lord and Savior. In our text, the Greek for “accepted” often also is translated “well-pleasing,” and this is the real meaning of the word. Since this also is the great desire of every sincere Christian, let us look at a few of those passages where the Lord tells us specifically how we can please Him.

Consider, for example: “But to do good and to communicate [i.e., to ‘share what you have with others’] forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:16; see also Philippians 4:18).

There is a special admonition to children: “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:20). For adults: “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please [same root word] him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:3-4).

The same word appears in Romans 12:1-2, translated twice as “acceptable.” Paul urges us to present our bodies as living sacrifices, “holy, acceptable unto God,” being “not conformed to this world,” but transformed by a renewed mind, thereby to prove “that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

The common thread in these and other such passages is that, in order to be pleasing to the Lord, we must be good stewards of all our possessions and all our days, serving Him totally. “For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable [i.e., ‘well-pleasing’] to God” (Romans 14:18). This is our reasonable service, and it will be abundantly repaid if we hear Him say in that day: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). HMM

Discharging Our Obligation

… Walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. —Ephesians 5:8-10

I have to be faithful to what I know to be true, so I must tell you that if you will not worship God seven days a week, you do not worship Him on one day a week….

Too many of us try to discharge our obligations to God Almighty in one day— usually one trip to church. Sometimes, nobly, we make it two trips to church, but it’s all on the same day when we have nothing else to do—and that’s supposed to be worship. I grant you, sir, that it can be true worship, provided that on Monday and Tuesday and the other days you also experience the blessings of true worship.

I do not say that you must be at church all of the time—how could you be?

You can worship God at your desk, on an elevated train or driving in traffic.

You can worship God washing dishes or ironing clothes…. You can worship God in whatever is legitimate and right and good….

So that’s all right. We can go to church and worship. But if we go to church and worship one day, it is not true worship unless it is followed by continuing worship in the days that follow.

Father, I pray that You might give me a sense of Your presence wherever I am, in whatever I’m doing. Direct my heart to worship You throughout the day. Amen.

A Possibility: To Mean Right and Still Go Wrong

For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 1 Peter 2:19

There are areas in our Christian lives where in our effort to be right we may go wrong—so wrong as to lead to spiritual deformity.

To be specific, let me name a few:

When in our determination to be bold we become brazen! Courage and meekness are compatible qualities. Both were found in perfect proportion in Christ, even in conflict with His enemies.

When in our desire to be frank we become rude! Candor without rudeness was always found in the man Christ Jesus. The Christian who boasts that he calls a spade a spade is likely to end by calling everything a spade.

When in our effort to be watchful we become suspicious! Because there are many adversaries the temptation is to see enemies where none exist, or to develop a spirit of hostility to everyone who disagrees with us.

When we seek to be serious and become somber! Gloominess is a defect of character and should never be equated with godliness. Joy is a great therapeutic for the mind.

When we mean to be conscientious and become overscrupulous! If the devil cannot succeed in destroying the conscience he will settle for making it sick. I know Christians who live in a state of constant distress, fearing that they may displease God. They believe this self-torture to be a proof of godliness, but how wrong they are!

“Yet Shall He Live”

He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. JOHN 11:25

This may sound strange—but it is a fact that death is not the worst thing that can happen to a believing Christian!

I can recall the first time I heard that statement, in a quiet conversation with Harry M. Shuman, for many years the president of the international Christian and Missionary Alliance.

He was a soft-spoken yet forceful man of God, rich in the wisdom of God’s Word. We were talking of the serious issues of life and death. When he had something especially important to say, Dr. Shuman had an unusual way of lowering his voice and tilting his head just a bit. I can see him yet as he looked out from under his shaggy brows straight into my eyes.

“Remember, Tozer,” he said, “death is not the worst thing that can happen to a person!”

For the Christian, death is a journey to the eternal world. It is a victory, a rest, a delight. I am sure my small amount of physical suffering has been mild compared to Paul’s, but I feel as Paul did: “Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better” (Philippians 1:23).

Thank You, Lord, for offering the gift of eternal life through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Since I have eternal life now, why should I fear death, which for the believer is merely a journey to a much better place!