Facing The Critical Problem Of Having A Critical Heart:

1. Choose your only legitimate option: speak to them, not about them.

- v. 1 - ďagainstĒ

- Big Lie: ďIf you canít say something nice, donít say anything at all.Ē

- when people believe this, it seems so impossible that they dismiss Godís instructions.

- cf. Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Corinthians 13:2, 10; 1 Timothy 1:20; Titus 3:10.

2. Clear your criticisms with God first.

- v. 2b - ďAnd the Lord heard of it.Ē

- our first instinct is to go to a friend; it should be to go to God.

3. Determine if your motive is to lift up or tear down.

- v. 3 - tearing him down.

- Ephesians 4:29; 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

- is this a personal attack or concerned with what theyíre doing?

- vv. 1-2 - stated reason was not the real reason.

- Matthew 7:1-5.

4. Prepare for the boomerang your criticism creates.

- v. 10.

- realize that your critical spirit will color you.

- Godís irony: Miriamís prejudice - skin color; Godís justice - skin color.

- Miriamís complaints about Mosesí wifeís black skin resulted in her being cursed with white (leprous) skin.

- our constant criticism will often not do much to the other person, but will destroy us.

- shape this often takes: someone is constantly negative about other people and they end up in a prison of negativity, creating darkness and health problems for them.

5. Fear the dangers of speaking against Godís anointed.

- v. 6-8.

- the criticisms were not warranted - vv. 2-3.

- this is not just a point about preachers - any Christian through whom God is working powerfully can have the anointing of God.

- could be another Sunday School teacher whose classes seem to be fuller all the time and you say itís because they donít teach the hard stuff; could be a co-worker whoís making a dramatic impact for Christ and you say itís because theyíll hang out with anyone; could be a pastor whose church is reaching people for Christ and you say itís because they merely entertain.

- God will zealously protect His anointed man or woman.