It’s a good thing there isn’t a steering wheel attached to the back of the driver’s seat, because backseat drivers would quickly take over our streets.

A car and an oncoming train collided at a railroad crossing. Both the male driver and his female passenger survived the accident. When they escaped the wreckage, the woman opened her mouth as if to say something, but the man stopped her. “Don’t say a word! I got my half of the car across. You were driving in the back seat, and if you let your half get hit, it’s no fault of mine.”

How easy it is for us to assume a critical spirit towards others. Whether it relates to our driving habits or our worldview, our differences often cause us to resort to finger-pointing and name-calling. Jesus calls us to a higher standard. He instructed us in Matthew 7:1-2, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”

Whenever we judge others, we can expect to receive the same condemnation in return. Therefore, we are wise to consider ourselves before we pass judgment. Our intent in judgment should always be the edification of others, especially when we are dealing with fellow-Christians. Excessive criticism or criticism with the wrong spirit is counterproductive in accomplishing this end, and should be avoided.

Even if you feel justified in dishing out criticism, be mindful that God does care about your critical spirit. Maybe your kids are not making good decisions, or your neighbor is being a burden. Maybe a co-worker sets you on edge with his off-color humor and poor work ethic, or your spouse’s idiosyncrasies make you angry. Before you point any fingers, first take an honest look at yourself and consider your own imperfections. Then pray for grace to address your concerns about others with the right spirit. Jesus will help you, if you let Him do the driving.

Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots. — Frank A. Clark

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.