Are You A Critic?

Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Matthew 23:24

Several years ago I discovered the writings of G.D. Watson. First in a tract entitled “Others May, You Cannot”. Later I purchased his book Pure Gold.

G.D. Watson was an old time Methodist “holiness” preacher. So I am sure you will have to spit out a few seeds in his writings. He was converted in the Southern army, near Richmond,Virginia in 1863

Human nature doesn’t change so his chapter on a critical spirit is still relevant today. I have selected some excerpts for your enjoyment {or annoyance}. I have also highlighted some of his more disturbing comments. All I can say is “been there, done that” and trying to do better – Shawn

“A critical spirit “deems itself gifted from God with particular genius to detect and correct evil in others.”

“There is an inveterate {deep-seated} frailty in human nature to assume the throne of God in judging others. Because God gives religious persons the power to discriminate, a great many misinterpret the gift and conclude that they have a special mission to detect defects and to exercise a police authority in correcting others, and hunting down wrong-doers. So much is this true that some eminently religious people think that all the religion on earth would go to wreck if they did not diligently exercise their gift in setting others right

“The critical spirit hunts for defects in non-essentials. Like the Pharisees, it puts annis and cumin above the weightier matters of mercy and life. A critical person is disposed to eye you from head to foot, and scan carefully your clothing, your eating, your facial expression, your voice, and gesture. He is on the hunt for something wrong and is bound to find it and sooner than miss his prey…”

“Such persons will go out of their way to investigate the sins of others, they love to inquire into the shortcomings of their neighbors, they think it a great stroke of piety to unearth evil.”

“The most awful thing about it is the satanic delusion that such a horrible spirit is a part of holiness. It is a proof of a weak mind or weak spirituality, to get the attention absorbed upon a collateral {secondary} or non-essential, and this is always a significant trait of a critical spirit.”

“The spirit of criticism is invariably a legal spirit. It takes the technical law side of every thing instead of the love side. It magnifies systematic theology above the Bible, it puts doctrinal statement above the very essence of God’s life in the soul. It will spend a great deal more zeal in hunting heresy than it will in secret prayer. It has a strong propensity to pitch into people and things generally. It scans with eagle eye the writings of others, not to get spiritual nourishment, but ferret out any trace of false teaching. It matters not how holy or useful a person may be, if they make any statement by voice or pen which does not fit in with the critic’s cast iron theology, the offender is at once pounced upon, and his supposed inaccuracies are peddled to the world, while the real worth of the life and service are ignored.”

“They are disposed to criticize any one’s experience which either does not fit in with their own, or which seems to fall below it, and especially are they vehement against experiences which go beyond their own.”

“Again, the critical spirit eats out, like a burning acid, the very sweetness of spiritual life…

“There is a mysterious quality of heart-gentleness and mental and soul-sweetness in a truly crucified believer, which cannot be defined.”

“…the critical spirit invariably poisons other persons. It is satanically contagious. Other persons feel our spirit far more swiftly and accurately than they do our words or our deliberate actions.”

“A critical spirit can be felt by others in spite of all effort to conceal it. Our only safety against this malady is to live in the very heart of Jesus.”

“Many such persons, before they die, pass through ordeals of experience which show them the utter foolishness of their self-appointed mission, for a critical spirit is always a proof of a raw {green or immature} experience.”

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