Introduction: (We often hear it said that we shouldn t criticize. At the same time, we criticize people and things frequently. This study is intended to help us understand when criticism is in order and when it is out of line.)

A. Standing For What Is Right: Phil. 1:17 (The concept you can never criticize is a tired platitude. It is not consistent with the scriptures. While it is certainly true that we can be out of line with many of the criticisms we offer, that does not mean it s wrong to make negative or faultfinding observations.)

    1. Matters Of Salvation: Acts 3:12-19, Acts 4:19-20 (Peter spoke critical words to the Jews, but it was in interest of their salvation. He later said they could not help but speak about such maters. We must stand for what is right in matters of salvation, even if it sounds critical to some.)

    2. Matters Of Worship: Jn. 4:19-24, Acts 17:23 (Jesus criticized the woman at the well. Paul criticized the pagans at Athens. Both cases were in order because they offered corrupt worship. We must stand for what is right in matters of worship, even if it sounds critical to some.)

    3. Matters Of Personal Holiness: Lk. 19:46, Heb. 12:14 (Jesus criticized some of the Jews for their moral corruption. They had turned God s temple into a center for corrupt commerce. The Lord teaches cannot be saved without personal holiness. Therefore, you must stand for what is right in matters of personal holiness, even if it sounds critical to some.)

B. Specific Questions To Ask: (Ask these questions about the criticizing you do. This will help you to soul search and evaluate the way you deal with others.)

    1. Am I Being Sincere: Prov. 10:18 (The scriptures clearly condemn us if we are hypocritical or insincere. If you hide hatred while pretending to criticize for someone s good, it is wrong.)

    2. Am I Trying To Hurt: Prov. 11:9 (It is another kind of hypocrisy to say things just to hurt others. If you criticize for that purpose, it is wrong.)

    3. Am I Trying To Exalt Self Or Put Others Down: Neh. 4:1-4 (Sanballat and others criticized Judah s work in rebuilding the wall. They did not criticize out of legitimate concern. They wanted to put Israel down and stop the work.)

    4. Has The Point Already Been Made: Eccl. 3:1-8 (The Bible teaches everything has an appropriate place and time. When you consider criticizing, you need to ask if it is the appropriate time, or if the point has already been driven in the ground.)

    5. Is My Criticism Valid, Correct: Ps. 34:13 (You must keep from saying evil or deceitful things. If you criticize someone when they do not deserve it, that can be an inadvertent kind of deceit. You must not do this.)

    6. Am I Just Cloaking Murmuring: I Cor. 10:10, Phil. 2:14 (Sometimes we criticize others just to complain. You must not indulge yourself in needless complaining.)

    7. Am I Trying To See The Positive Side: I Cor. 13:7 (By its very nature, love will cause us to endure the weaknesses of others and look for the positive side. You must ask if you are really trying to see the good in others.)

C. Specific Guiding Principles: (There are important principles to remember that will help you to know when and how to constructively criticize, the way God wants you to.)

    1. Stick With The Scriptures: Heb. 4:12 (God s word is the greatest tool for reaching the lost soul. You must always base your case on what the Bible says.)

    2. Be Willing To Receive Criticism: Prov. 12:1 (The Bible teaches us to be willing to accept reproof or criticism. If we believe in dishing it out to others, we should be willing to take it.)

    3. Frame Your Words With Kindness: Prov. 16:21-24 (You must teach with sweet words. Well chosen words are refreshing to the soul.)

Conclusion: (We have learned there are times that what we might call criticism is in order. However, there are specific principles that limit how and when we criticize. You must have the courage to be willing to find fault. But you must have the self control to restrict how you go about that.)