Criticism and Judgement

The American Heritage Dictionary states that criticism is “a critical comment or judgment” and it is “the act of criticizing, especially adversely” ( So perhaps I’m an expert on criticism. It’s great being able to look at something or someone and point out all of its flaws. How much harder it is to actually point out its unique beauty and character?

Several days ago I was listening to someone speak on fasting, and some of the things you can fast from (because fasting can also mean “a period of refrain”). While I wasn’t as focused on what exactly was being said, I found something that stuck out to me: you can refrain from criticism for a period of time. Now, I love to point out people’s flaws so refraining from criticism can’t be easy. I mean, look at how people park in a parking lot! Just plain bad sometimes. But what if there was a reason for it? Sure, the parking may still be bad, but what if the reason they parked so “bad” was because of some external reason, say perhaps there was a buggy in their way?

I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and I’ve started just telling myself “don’t criticize” when I feel so inclined to do so. I’m good at judging people before I know them a lot of times. I don’t know exactly why I feel inclined to point out others faults, especially when I’m no better than they are, sometimes more so than others. I remember a few days ago when I said something about how someone could be put in jail for a specific action they did – all the while not thinking that I could be found guilty of the same thing. When I look at people, I no longer what to think or see the “wrong” they may be in. I want to love them. Love never fails.

So this is what I’ve been learning lately. I’m not near the end of the tunnel, and I don’t see myself as “fasting” criticism, but rather trying to escape it. How can I really judge others, condemning them, while I myself am just as guilty of the same sins they are? Jesus said that if we lust after someone we’ve already committed adultery in our hearts. In the same way, if I judge someone for doing something that I have only acted upon in my mind, how much different is it? I committed the same sin, yet I judge the other person for acting upon it. I don’t ever want to do that, yet I have before and I still do. I think it’s something that we as a body of believers should long to be free of, not just because it may be a “noble” thing to do, but because it’s the Biblical thing to do.