Many years ago, I came close to being chief sinner who criticized others. However, Brother Woods’ truth and his love for me, and my soul, helped me see that I censured others as their judge and jury. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Proverbs 27:6).
I honestly do not know how many stones were thrown, but hearing Brother Woods’ truth was very hard since no one had ever told me “about myself.” His action of obedience to righteous judge my behavior resulted in my heighten awareness, correction and encouragment to dig deeper in the scriptures to see my own flaws. “The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise” (Proverbs 15:31).
“He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul; but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility” (Proverbs 15:32-33). My experiences taught me valuable lessons that still resonate with me, especially doing everything appropriately following Jesus’ example of face-to-face criticism of the Pharisees in Matthew 23.
Conclusion, criticism is about attitude. The primary guide is speaking in truth, in love and humbleness. Correction must be gentle, not from a critical spirit of fault finding or through arrogance, bitterness, insulting, pride, condescending, gossiping, or jealousy.
I encourage you not to allow Satan to control your emotions making it appear someone has become your enemy because they tell you the truth.
“The fear of the Lord is the hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate!” (Proverbs 8:13)
“Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in Heaven and you are on earth. Therefore, let your words be few. For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words.” (Ecclesiastes 5:2-3)
“Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.” (Proverbs 9:8)