Examining Your Heart: Do You Harbor A Critical Spirit?

One morning while a couple was having breakfast, the wife looked out her window and saw her neighbor hanging clothes on the line to dry.  She noticed the wash dingy and dirty and said to her husband, “That lady doesn’t know how to wash clothes. I wonder if she uses cheap detergent?” Day after day, she would look out the window and make the same comments, saying she couldn’t believe how the neighbors wore those dirty looking clothes. Then one day, the woman looked out the window, and the clothes were clean and bright. She was surprised and said to her husband, “Look, Honey, I can’t believe it. She finally learned how to wash clothes. I wonder what happened?” Her husband smiled and said, “Honey, I got up early this morning and decided to clean our windows.”

We can learn a valuable lesson from this story.

A critical spirit taints every area of our lives. When we are critical and fault-finding in people or things around us, we need to stop and make sure it’s not our own dirty window that’s clouding what we see. A critical spirit follows you everywhere you go, and you can’t get away from it. If you can’t see anything in a positive light – if you only see the scratch on the floor and don’t see the beauty in the amazing house – if you only see what others do wrong and never what they do right – then you need to clean your window.

At some point, we need to look in the window and say, “Maybe I’m the one who needs to change.” You see If you are always critical, then maybe you’ve developed a habit of seeing the bad instead of the good. And perhaps your life filter is dirty. Perhaps you have become judgmental and condemning instead of giving people the benefit of the doubt, and maybe you have even become entitled to your critical spirit and feel justified in judging and condemning others.

The good news is that through the help of the Holy Spirit, you can change your way of thinking and begin to see people through God’s filter – through their strengths instead of their weaknesses. But it’s a choice that you will need to make. You can focus on their good qualities, or you can focus on the things you don’t like and magnify the faults of others and the characteristics that annoy you.

Some people have become so critical minded that no matter what is done for them, it’s never right or good enough. If it’s a spouse situation – our filter can get so skewed and tainted that we can never see their good and can even forget why we fell in love with them in the first place and magnify the wrong in them. If you struggle in this area, make a list of the good qualities you like about your spouse. Write down the good things your spouse does. And catch them doing something good and acknowledge it. For instance, your husband may not be the best communicator but is a hard worker. She may have some weaknesses but is an amazing mother.

Start focusing on the good things because if you have a critical spirit, your entire outlook may be poisoned and will damage your relationships and break intimacy with people, self, and God.  People respond more to praise than they respond to criticism.

What is the definition of being critical?

The dictionary describes it as one who is inclined to find fault or judge with severity often too readily and condemn without facts.  So ask yourself. The same questions.

Am I inclined to find fault with people?

Do I judge with severity?

Do I condemn without facts?

Many people who are critical of others judge themselves in the same harsh matter. Is this you? Ask yourself

Do I think negative thoughts about myself?

Do I judge myself with severity?

Why do I do this?

The answer is often buried deep in the past. God is faithful to expose those root issues that are causing us to view the world, self, others, including God through our dirty window.

“Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.”

Mathew 15:13

 

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The Band-Aid of Bitterness

When we are hurt emotionally, the fastest way to stop the emotional bleeding is to put on the band-aid of bitterness. It keeps us from feeling the pain and on guard of being hurt again. It also keeps us from feeling God at work in our lives or His call to do His work.

God’s word warns “Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springs up and cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” (Hebrews 12:15) Once bitterness has taken root it causes the wound to fester and grow. Anger, depression, anxiety…all grow out of bitterness.

To get rid of the ban aid of bitterness we need to allow God to come in and clean the wound so that it can heal properly. Because even though it’s been covered up through various coping mechanisms, is still there and it still hurts. Just like a cut that got infected, emotional wounds have to be cleaned so we can get rid of the infection and heal.

Like poison bitterness can slowly kill us. It can harden our hearts to where when God points it out to us we turn our back on what we need to do to get rid of it. The good news is that we have a Savior who can heal our broken hearts and bind up our wounds so that we no longer have to pretend that everything is okay and stop putting on a happy face when we are crying on the inside. Take your hurts to Jesus. He can clean out the wound causing the infection of bitterness that is making you heart sick and preventing you from giving or receiving forgiveness and living in the fullness of His love and grace.

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Get to The Root

The strength of a life is in its roots. This is true of a physical tree, as well as metaphorically, our tree of life. The root system serves to guarantee the existence of the tree. Without healthy roots, a tree system cannot survive. They provide a firm base, an anchor for the whole structure of a tree – the trunk – the branches – leaves – fruit. They are all dependent on that healthy root system. One of the primary functions of the root system is to draw water and nourishment from the soil to feed on. This will allow our roots to grow deep to firmly establish and define us.

To live the abundant life of a believer, we must be firmly rooted in God’s love and grace. But first, we must remove and let go of the toxic things that hinder us from being who God created us to be. Shame has no room in the life of a believer. Beloved, please understand that our past does not define us. The sins that hurt us whether ours or someone else’s perpetrated against us are not who we are. They kept us from being who God created us to be causing us to adopt unhealthy coping mechanism and put up walls around our hearts to keep from being hurt. These walls kept everyone else out including God. Addiction, sexual sin, trauma, neglect, abuse, violence, betrayal, unmet needs may not be able to be erased from our minds, but we can be free of their damaging effects on our souls.

God sets us free by helping us walk through and process the pain, grieve losses, remove all the lies we have believed about ourselves and others, enabling us to offer and receive forgiveness. This releases us from the bondage of being a byproduct of our past. With certainty, research confirms we are affected by negative and hurtful experiences in our history. However, because of Christ’s sacrifice and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, we don’t have to be a slave to our past any longer. Jesus sets the captives free and firmly plants us in the nourishing soil of His unfailing love and grace so that our roots will grow deep in the truth of who we are in Him, so when the storms of life come we will not be uprooted.

 

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The Root of Relationship Conflict

There is a direct correlation between relationship conflict and negative emotions. We were designed for love and intimacy. Sadly, many of us were not given healthy forms of love. So we enter relationships with baggage full of skewed love systems and unmet needs expecting the other person to meet our emotional needs. However, since unhealthy people tend to attract unhealthy individuals into their lives who enter the relationship with their own emotional baggage – unmet needs and skewed forms of love expecting us to love them as they think they should be loved, it’s a great recipe for emotional pain and conflict. People enter relationships with all kinds of learned negative patterns of behavior for dealing with relationship conflict.

 
The truth is we will never be able to enjoy healthy mutually satisfying relationships until we deal with the issues of our own heart. When we can identify the cause of our emotional pain, we can then process the effects they have on our life, and we can stop blaming others, take ownership of our negative feelings and behaviors and stop allowing others to control our emotions.
 
People are not responsible for the way they make us feel. Understanding and accepting this enables us to let others off the hook and give them permission to take ownership of their feelings and stop blaming us for how they feel. Jesus heals and restores one heart at a time.
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Ge to the Root!!

Fear, betrayal, rejection, anger, unforgiveness, addictions, unhealthy relationships and relationship conflict, are just some of the real life struggles facing God’s children today.

Our churches are filled with believers who love Jesus, but are often overwhelmed and weighed down; bound up and defeated by life’s issues. So many are unable to live a truly abundant life in Christ and run the Christian race with endurance. These beloved brethren have this in common—they are painfully unaware that the untended roots from the past are creating issues in the present, and are preventing them from thriving in the fullness of God.

God’s children are in desperate need of practical, step by step, biblical solutions. Hurting Hearts Restored offers that hand of help. Written according to God’s powerful Word and inspired by the promptings of The Holy Spirit, this book is intended to lead you into God’s unending love and grace—to His perfect plan for you—life more abundantly! Filled with easily understood explanations, examples, journal questions, and real-life stories, Hurting Hearts Restored will walk you through the healing process — a journey with Jesus into the depth of your heart where change happens, page-by-page, with all the resources you need to get to the roots that bind.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
John 10:10

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