Never Be Critical
Never be critical of anyone -- to their face, or behind their back!
If someone needs correction, it can be given without being critical of them as a person. Advice can be given in a spirit of meekness (see Galatians 6:1).
To be critical of others, you must think you are qualified to judge them. We are not qualified to judge people -- only God is. Anyone being critical of others has a problem with pride -- thinking too highly of themselves.
PSALM 101:5 NKJ
5 Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; The one who has a haughty look and a proud heart, him I will not endure.
We must evaluate people to determine whether to trust them and deal with them, or not. But, we should not talk evil of them.
The Tongue Is Deadly
PROVERBS 12:18 NKJ
18 There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health.
Talk can do more damage than a sword! Words can hurt! They can kill, steal, and destroy.
JAMES 3:6,8 NKJ
6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Only by the power of God can the tongue be tamed. Unless it is under the control of God -- the tongue causes tremendous trouble!
MATTHEW 7:1-3 NKJ
1 "Judge not, that you be not judged.
2 "For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
3 "And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
LUKE 6:38 BERKELEY
38 . . . For with the yardstick you use for measuring, you in turn shall be measured.
ROMANS 2:1 NKJ
1 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.
ROMANS 14:4 NKJ
4 Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.
JAMES 4:12 NKJ
12 There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?
1 TIMOTHY 3:11 NKJ
11 Likewise their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.
2 TIMOTHY 3:3 NKJ
3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,
TITUS 2:3 NKJ
3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things --
The word slanderers in these three verses is the Greek word diabolos. It is always translated devil except for these three verses!
Diabolos is an adjective meaning slanderous or accusing falsely, used as a noun and translated slanderers in these verses, referring to those given to finding fault with others, who spread innuendos and criticisms.
1 TIMOTHY 5:13 NKJ
13 And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.
The Jerusalem Bible translates busybodies as "meddlers in other people's affairs." If you take care of your own business -- including prayer -- you will not have time to meddle in other people's business. Pray for them -- not talk against them.
1 TIMOTHY 5:13 PHILLIPS
13 . . . degenerate into gossips and busybodies with dangerous tongues.
ROMANS 1:29-30 NKJ
29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,
30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Note whisperers and backbiters. Phillips New Testament translates these words as whisperers-behind-doors and stabbers-in-the-back. If it has to be whispered behind closed doors -- it probably should not be said!
Speak No Evil
JAMES 4:11 NKJ
11 Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law . . . .
1 PETER 3:10 NKJ
10 For "He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking guile;
JAMES 5:9 PHILLIPS
9 Don't make complaints against each other in the meantime, my brothers -- you may be the one at fault yourself. The judge himself is already at the door.
IF Anyone Speaks
1 PETER 4:11 NKJ
11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God . . . .
IF anyone speaks -- means you do not have to say everything! IF you speak -- speak as God would speak -- speak His Word. Just because something is true does not mean you have to say it; you can just keep quiet.
PROVERBS 10:19 NKJ
19 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.
PROVERBS 17:9 NKJ
9 He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates the best of friends.
You are not required to tell everyone everything you know -- and you are a fool to tell everything you hear. You can keep quiet!
EPHESIANS 4:29 NKJ
29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
If it does not edify the hearers, God considers it corrupt communication!
EPHESIANS 4:15 NKJ
15 but, speaking the truth in love . . .
We must speak the truth only when we can speak it in love -- putting others and their welfare first -- otherwise we should keep quiet.
Besides being true, it should also be necessary, and in some way edifying -- or you should not say it. Never speak harshly, or put others down as a person.
If it is true, and necessary to say in order to protect and edify the Body of Christ, you can still say it in an humble way that is not demeaning, but shows God's love for the person.
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