If you’ve grown up in a family that was always finding fault and criticizing others, you may also have a negative, critical attitude. You are more apt to inspect others to see their faults and criticize how they do things.

Criticism is defined as “dwelling upon the perceived faults of another with no view to their good.” Our perceptions of others aren’t always accurate because we do not know or understand all the circumstances in their lives. Dwelling upon our observations of what we believe is wrong with others or how they are doing things differently than we would is a problem we need to overcome.

Many who criticize have not even considered that they could help those they find fault with. A judgmental attitude that criticizes others without trying to help them in some way only hurts them. We do not know the motives of others’ hearts or their life experiences, so we have no right to judge others in a critical manner.

Anyone is capable of harboring a critical attitude, no matter how talented, spiritual or successful they may be. Many times criticism is rooted in jealousy or resentment of others’ accomplishments, success, talents or what they have. We may resent and criticize others when we have been passed by and they received what we wanted. This can lead to dwelling upon their shortcomings and criticizing them.

Criticism can also be ego-based, especially for those with low self-esteem who feel like failures. As long as they can keep the focus on criticizing others’ short-comings, faults and the way they do things, then they can keep the focus off themselves.

Criticism can do much damage to those closest to you, especially your children, if it is excessive and constant. They grow up feeling like they can never do anything right or anything to please you, and their deep wounds may affect them the rest of their lives.

A critical attitude can also be rooted in arrogance and thinking that you’re always right, and the way you do things is the only right way to do them. This close-minded way of thinking drives others away and destroys relationships. No one wants to listen to someone who is always criticizing others and tooting their own horn.

The habit of criticizing is a self-destructive way to live. Constantly criticizing others, habitually finding fault and having a general negative attitude causes stress in our lives. A loving attitude that accepts others and is thankful for what is rather than criticizing, complaining and being negative is a much healthier way to live.

There’s a difference between having a bad day and making a critical remark that you would not normally say and having a negative, critical attitude all the time. Criticism may give you momentary relief, but it also comes between you and God.

God considers a critical attitude as sin, and desires we repent of this sin and change.

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Hope Ministries is a Christian counseling center, and we are here to help. If you would like to speak confidentially with someone, give us a call at 845-482-5300. You can read Diane’s weekly blog at www.dianesopenbook.wordpress.com.