Multitudes of people believe that they are "right" in how they express themselves, thinking that their harsh sentiments and cruel comments will, invariably, turn the hearts of those who disagree with them. Consider this from Proverbs 15:1, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." This is what Paul says to the Corinthian church, "This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority--the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down" (2 Corinthians 13:10). He didn't want to be harsh, he wanted to build up the church - to encourage and lift them - not tear them down.
Yet, today, many will use their words for that very thing--to tear down others rather than build them up. And it all flows from a critical spirit that dwells within them. Like a nuclear bomb that has yet to detonate, these people harbor an explosive temperament that will, ultimately, be unleashed with destructive force. Yet Paul warns the church in Galatians 5:15, "If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other." That is what a critical spirit does, however. It continues to "bite" until it "devours."
But we've all be there at one point or another. We hold a certain view of Christianity that is limited to our own experiences so we begin to evaluate those around us, not by God's word but by our own point of view. Jesus had to deal with this, even among some of His closest friends: Mary and Martha. You know the story (Luke 10:38-42). Martha was busy, working hard, and certain that her sister Mary was completely wrong for her failure to help. With a critical eye upon her sister, Martha interrupted the teaching moment of Jesus to demand Him to order Mary to help.
You and I have done similar things. We go to Jesus in prayer and tell Him how unspiritual a person is because they don't tow the same line that we do. Their house is not tidy, they don't wear the right clothing to church, they fail to participate in some "pet" project at the church, and a host of other issues too numerous to name. In fact, I knew a man who was angered and critical of another Christian because that other Christian had never heard of the ministry "World Vision."
But, more than just telling Jesus about it, the grinding wheels of gossip and slander begin. "Those people" get talked about in the hushed corners of the church building--and all of a sudden, "those people" leave. I have met, in my travels as a Christian and pastor, more disenfranchised Christians than I care to count. They are hurt, wounded, broken, frustrated and uncertain that the church is a place where the love of Christ is truly alive.
Is there a cure? YES! It's simple: love as God has loved you! Be patient with one another in brotherly love. Colossians 3:13, "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Show mercy. Live compassionately. Give generously. Forgive freely. Love willingly.
Let me leave you with the warning that is found in the book of James. "Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!" ~ James 2:12-13