Summary: How do we get rid of a critical attitude toward others? God commands us to love each other. Which means, I can "will" to love you, and you in turn can "will" to love me. This is our Christian responsibility

The Gift from Hell

Intro.: A critical spirit will show itself against those we are closest to. The danger of a critical spirit is that it spreads to others, and the criticism does not have to be warranted. I don’t care how spiritual we think we are, we may battle a critical spirit all of our life. God’s hates a critical spirit, and he says it falls into the same category as idolatry and sexual immorality and it will not go unpunished.

So here’s the question. How do we get rid of a critical attitude toward others?

READ: 1 Corinthians 13: 1-8

In the first 3 verses we find three specifics to determine if we have a critical spirit. In the remaining verses we find three guidelines about applying love to a critical spirit.

I. Do I have a Critical Spirit

A. If what I am saying about someone, no matter how well I say it, is void of love then I have a critical spirit.

NOTE: If I have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

Illus.: Cymbals hung outside pagan temples and those who wished to speak to a god were to hit the cymbal to awaken the god. If you don’t operate in love, you might as well try to get the attention of a pagan god, because God will not hear your plea.

B. One way to be critical is to be humorous

1. You cut em’ down & make people laugh at the same time

2. The problem is that God finds no humor in this

C. Or you can eloquently present the case that so & so is a jerk

1. This can be wonderfully convincing

2. But it is still being critical.

D. What we say about one another must be tempered with love

1. No matter how I say it, if love is missing from my words, I am being critical

2. Even if it’s true, if I don’t speak in love then I have a critical spirit.

NOTE: We must think it is OK to talk bad about another person as long as what we are saying is true. God does not give us that permission. Whatever is true must be filtered through love. And love does not give me permission to talk ugly about someone simply because it is the truth.

E. If what I say to others is not what I’d say to the person I’m talking about, I

have a critical spirit.

1. My critical spirit about someone may show itself by words I speak to others

2. Or it may show itself deep within my heart.

EXAMPLE: People may be critical of their employer, but afraid to say anything to another employee because it may get back to the boss. So they keep it in their heart. When the boss asks them to do something, it gets done but they hate doing it. That is also a critical spirit

F. Husbands and wives built up resentments deep in their heart against each other

and when one ask the other to do something, it beings World War III because

they have a critical spirit about their spouse

G. The same thing happens in churches

Question: How many of us struggle with a critical spirit? All of us in this room.

II. What do we do about our critical attitudes?

A. Love requires that I go to the person that has offended me and no one else

READ: Matthew 18:15, “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.

NOTE: Telling others about our offense without telling the person that offended us is sin and we will be held accountable for it.

B. REREAD: I Corinthians 13:4-5

1. Love is patient, not hasty

2. Love is kind, not ugly

3. Love does not envy, it is pleased when others succeed

4. Love does not boast, it acts respectfully

5. Love is not proud, it responds in humility

6. Love is not rude, it is gentle in it’s response

7. Love is not self-seeking, it strives to honor others

8. Love is not easily angered, it overlooks actions that are not intended to hurt

9. Love keeps no records on wrongs, when it’s over, it’s over

Illus.: One musical group sings, "I can’t help falling in love with you." Another one sings, "You’ve lost that loving feeling." And a third one sings, "I love you. Please tell me your name." That’s really deep stuff...

But the Bible teaches that love is something we can control. God commands us to love each other. Which means, I can will to love you, and you in turn can will to love me. This is our Christian responsibility.

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