DON’T Criticize, Condemn, or Complain
I chose this title because it appears to be very simple, doesn’t it? Well, believe it or not this is one of the most difficult renewed mind principles to master. I myself have yet to master it, but I am working on it. It is the Will of God that we never criticize, condemn, or complain. Think about it.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. -- Colossians 3: 2
The word “affection” is referring to your thinking. What do you think about? Then God says to think about things ”above”. What does that mean? Things above are referring to spiritual matters. Then God goes on to say not to think about things on the earth. Now of course we have to think of certain things that are on the earth because this is our temporary dwelling place. But God is trying to stress that we are to think about spiritual matters which are things that are mentioned in the Word of God. In a number of areas in the Word, God tells us that He does not want us to criticize or to condemn people or to complain about everything else. Have you ever been around a person who was like this? You probably do everything you can to avoid this person because he or she is very negative about almost everything.
Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged: -- Matthew 7: 1, 2a
I am going to put this to you in the most simplest way that I can. A great man of God once taught me this. He said “when you point a finger at someone else, you’re pointing three fingers back at yourself.” Don’t misunderstand this principle. If someone has done something very wrong to you, self-defense is a biblical concept. This recently happened to me and I did not do anything to contact the person who did this wrong. I was going to write a letter to the Corporate Executive Officer and President of his company, but changed my mind. I thought it best to just get away and let God handle it. Now if you ever do apply the principle of self-defense, you must make the blow count. You don’t go after everybody who looks at you the wrong way. But if a person is doing something seriously wrong, you never put your tail between your legs and run.
I want to say to you that it takes a disciplined effort to never criticize, condemn or complain. This is a major part of the renewed mind. Our old man may have constantly violated these principles, but our new man is where we get our power in our walk with God in this day and age and on this earth.
Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. - I Timothy 4: 15
You see the first phrase is to meditate upon these things. What things is God talking about? Again, it is very simple when you work the context of the chapter to see that God wants you to meditate or think on His Word. Why? Well, first you are to give your whole heart, mind and spirit to the Word of God. Then the last part of the Scripture says why you should do that. It is so that your profiting – your positive way of life – may be seen or appear to all people. I will try to make that a little more understandable for you. When I spoke the Word to people when I first got in the Ministry, the people I witnessed to took a 36 hour “research and teaching class.” When the class was over, they were very blessed and I asked them, “What was the one major factor that made you to get involved in God’s Word”? I was somewhat shocked at their answer. They said to me that they wanted to be like me. That’s why God says in the above verse to give yourself wholly to God that your profiting, your way of life appears to all people. Simply put, people you witness to many times will not read the Bible, but they will read your life. Your example will make people want to turn on to the Word of God.
Now, I am finally going to get to something that simply baffled me. I thought for a certainty that I had the principle of do not criticize condemn or complain, in my research materials. I simply cannot find it and my wife was also searching with me. She amazes me at how she can find anything quickly.
When I first got introduced to the Word of God, part of our reading materials concerned the principles of Dale Carnegie. Many people were afraid to witness and did not have the skills to speak the Word to people. Surely you have heard of Dale Carnegie’s famous book “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Even though I did not have any problems witnessing to others, I did read this book and I studied it very well. By searching outside of my research materials, I found this amazing quote by Dale Carnegie. The first principle that he offered to his audiences was “don’t criticize, condemn or complain”. This type of behavior does not bring any profit to you or to others. Now, I am going to go to the Word of God to give you some actual examples from the Scriptures and there are many of them. But before we do that, I want you to try a little experiment. I want you to listen to conversations of people and be aware if they are criticizing, condemning, or complaining. You should be somewhat amazed at what you are going to hear.
THERE is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. -- Romans 8: 1
[First let me point out that in the critical Greek texts, the verse stops here. The scribe made a mistake by putting the second half of verse 4 into verse 1.]
Getting back to the principles in the Word, God does not want you to even condemn yourself, let alone condemn others. Most Christians do not know that when you condemn yourself, you sin. That is correct. When you condemn yourself, you are out of fellowship with God. God knows and understands that if you are condemning yourself, you have been tricked by the devil. Most of the time, this is not your fault. So God does not want you condemning yourself for something that your personal adversary has brought upon you. Now, imagine this. God does not want you to condemn yourself at any time, so you can imagine how serious God is when he tells you not to condemn others. This is something to think about and to work into your renewed mind efforts. I, myself, was very surprised when I first learned this principle. And if you look at the verse again, you’ll see that the condemnation pertains to them which are in Christ Jesus. You may remember that I taught you that when it says “in” Christ Jesus, it pertains to the subject of the renewed mind. Again, Romans 8: 1 pertains to the subject of condemnation to those who are born again of God’s spirit. And the subject matter of the verse is really the renewed mind of the believer. Let’s go to the book of James.
But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. -- James 3: 14
Look at the clearness of the words that pertain to our teaching. One of the phrases is ‘bitter envying’. Obviously, if you are envious of someone, you are going to criticize them because they have something that you wrongly desire. This Scripture also says that you have ’strife’ in your hearts. Bitter envying and strife go together. You should be able to see that you now also have condemnation and you are complaining. So we have the three topics of our teaching in this one Scripture. The next verse tells us the source of this wisdom.
This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. -- James 3: 15
If you’ve read most of the chapter and you remember what I once taught you, you will see that the context of the chapter is talking about wisdom. People who are envious and have strife dominating their thinking could go on to believe that this is a form of wisdom. But God tells us here that this was not from Him, but it is from hell. It is also sensual which relates to the five senses instead of spiritual matters which relates to the true God. It’s really simple – don’t complicate it.
For where envying and strife is there is confusion and every evil work. -- James 3: 16
God makes it as clear as can be and states that where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. It is as clear that if you have envy and strife in your everyday walk of life, you are clearly criticizing, condemning, and complaining. You are then walking with the god of this world who is clearly stated in second Corinthians 4: 4 - that is, the devil.
Now let’s take a look at the Old Testament and see what God has to say about our subject. I want you to notice here what the result is if a person stops criticizing condemning and complaining. This verse I am going to review with you is concerning a true believer who has renewed his or her mind to God’s Word. Take note of the contrast between this man and the man in the book of James.
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. -- Proverbs 3: 13
Quite a difference from the man in James. This man is happy because he found the wisdom of God. Why? Because he studied the Word of God diligently. The wisdom spoken of here is the true wisdom of the true God. The same holds true for the man who gets understanding. Where do you get understanding? From the true Word of God and nowhere else. This is the contrast between the man of God who is in fellowship with God and a man of God who is out of fellowship and walking only by his five senses.
Let us take a slight break in the previous manner of teaching. You remember I mentioned Dale Carnegie. Now when he wrote his book, at the at the beginning of each chapter, he would quote a Scripture from the Bible. As time went on, this idea seem to just disappear from his books. I do not know why, but I remember reading each chapter and at the beginning, there was a Scripture from God’s Word. I am going to venture off from that specific subject right now and turn to something that Dale Carnegie wrote that I thought was a great statement of wisdom. If you think about it, and you try it, you might be amazed at how true it is. It was said exactly like this:
CRITICISM IS A DANGEROUS SPARK
You have probably witnessed criticism very often in your life. If you are one to criticize people, it’s going to come back at you and cause you harm. It’s very similar to something else I learned from Dale Carnegie and you know I don’t mention anyone except the Bible itself. But this man had quoted a lot of Scripture in his first edition of his book. I believe that he became quite famous for the above statement. No matter how you criticize someone, unless it is very constructive criticism, you will cause ill feelings in that person toward you. Now that’s all I’m going to say about the above statement. Try it out yourself and you will see that it works every time or better yet - NEVER try it.
Let’s go back to the book of Proverbs. The topic of the Scripture we are going to review has always been a favorite of mine. There are many people in this world that are described in this proverb. To me, they appear to be very obnoxious and I keep away from them. That doesn’t mean I am condemning anybody. It means I am not fellowshipping with darkness which is how we will finish this particular subject. First, to Proverbs.
The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly. - Proverbs 18: 8
Have you ever heard about someone talking behind your back and maybe telling others private situations in your own life? God refers to these people as talebearers. They go out of their way to find out some type of gossip or negative things about another person. When this person finds this out, it deeply hurts them and it goes into the innermost part of their being. I have experienced this many times before I knew the Word of God. If I find out someone is like this, I avoid them like the plague. A talebearer criticizes, condemns, and complaints. What he says about other people and what he does is similar to a wound he may inflict. Talebearers get pleasure out of hurting other people. And if you wonder about HURT, you should look up and study diligently the teaching that is available to you about this subject. Hurt is from hell - that simple.
Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. - Proverbs 26: 20
Isn’t that just a perfect way to sum up the subject of the talebearer? The strife and aggravation stops when there is no talebearer. Glory to God.
Now we may wonder what God is referring to when he talks about darkness in second Corinthians and Ephesians. We are going to go over two Scriptures that speak about the same subject. You should be able to take this literally without my extended explanation. You should never forget these two Scriptures and always make sure you apply them in your life and you will be a much happier person overall and blessed in many ways, if not all, of the ways of your life.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? -- II Corinthians 6: 14
You do not have any communion with darkness so don’t be hanging around with unbelievers because again, there is no fellowship with unrighteousness when you are righteous believer.
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. -- Ephesians 5: 11