A critical spirit will never make positive changes. At best, it will help maintain the status quo; but more often than not, it moves the needle in the wrong direction. This attitude holds people back from positive influence, both in the giving and receiving. Worse still, it stymies the Word of God in their life. It’s a real deal breaker when it comes to changing your life.
Having a critical spirit is learned; it is not innate. Though you’re not born with it, it’s easy to acquire it over time. Sometimes it’s simply passed on from one generation to the next. Other times, it comes from the negative impact of life experiences that completely accosted the sensibilities. One major entry point is where someone close breaks your trust on a major scale, or through numerous apparent inconsequential events that add up over time. Everyone is born with an open heart, but it doesn’t necessarily stay open. People and adverse conditions are culpable in closing it tighter than a drum.
Whether you have a critical spirit is ultimately up to you. No one is forced to obtain one, nor are they mandated to keep it once they have it. You have the power to decide, especially if you’re a disciple of Jesus Christ. Believers have one huge advantage over non-believers: grace! Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. God’s grace empowers you to forgive and let go. It enables you to change your attitude. As a matter of fact, by virtue of becoming a disciple, your attitude should have changed by and large at conversion. In simple terms, your old nature was crucified with Christ (see Romans 6:1-23; Galatians 2:20). As Paul put it: “I die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31). By His grace, you have the power to forgive others and even yourself for wrongs suffered. Forgiveness is a major weapon in your arsenal. It alone can kill the critical spirit. But again, you decide!
This brings us full circle. Each day you decide whether you’re going to approach the day with a critical spirit or not. Much of our attitude is predisposed on how we prepare our hearts for the day. If you choose to be critical going into it, you will find yourself critical of everyone and everything. Similarly, the way your week starts is often set up on Sunday. How would you like to be Monday, and everyone makes you their enemy? How many set themselves up for a lousy start? “I hate Mondays!” “Work is going to stink!” What would happen if they took a different approach: “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). If each day is important to God, shouldn’t each one be important to us? Every day presents new opportunities, even on the workdays when “it’s the same old stuff, just a different day.” Every day we have opportunity to be a blessing, to be gracious and extend mercy to others. We can positively impact individual lives if we take the correct posture.
Finally, renewing the mind is a game-changer when it comes to staying positive. One reason people become critical is self-preservation. Our brains contain the mechanisms to protect us from harm. When people get hurt, that hurt leaves an imprint in them, which affects the mind and emotions. In turn, the emotions work against them. However, by taking on the mind of Christ, our thinking can take on a whole new dimension. We can look beyond someone’s behavior and see what’s behind it. By Holy Spirit, we can properly discern the situation without constantly looking over our shoulders and viewing people with suspicion. The Lord’s discernment, can protect you from others without you despising them for their bad behavior or attitude. In fact, as you see through the veneer, you may find yourself filled with compassion instead. Why? Hurting people often resort to hurting people. They need forgiveness and healing. They need Jesus! Will you be Jesus to them?