It did not take me very long, despite living life as a preacher, to learn that there are hypercritical people everywhere. These are the people for whom compliments and praise seem extremely difficult, but for whom complaining, murmuring, and criticizing seems second nature. Often, they go so far as to question others’ motives or they reveal a very cynical and bitter attitude. I have found that these folks, whatever good works they do or how actively they participate in church programs, are decided liabilities to the congregation where they are members. Here are a few reasons why.
Hypercritics kill morale. No plan is good enough. No activity is done right. The hypercritic can be counted on to shoot holes in goals, plans, and ideas. They can single-handedly such the enthusiasm out of a congregation with the fortitude to stand against or ignore such tirades.
Hypercritics build walls. They tend to cast situations in the “us” versus “them” mold. Anyone caught in the cross hairs of their campaigns suffers character assassination. Such personalities polarize, and they at times go so far as to be divisive. God condemns such (1 Cor. 1:10; 3:4). The Lord is to be the only wall builder in His church (Eph. 2:20-21), and His walls unite people with differences under the authority of Christ. From behind their walls, hypercritics take shots at fellow-soldiers in unfriendly fire.
Hypercritics spread discontent. Such people tend to lobby for others to join their complaint committee. That way, they can say, “Several people feel the way I do.” In reality, the hypercritic often creates such monsters. Yet, these should beware. Korah led a hypercritical campaign against Moses which turned out most poorly for him and his cohorts (Num. 16:3,31-35).
Hypercritics run on the deadly fuel of cynicism. They tend to see the worst side of others. Hypercriticism, by nature, easily leads one to judge unrighteously and blindly (Matt. 7:1-5). Anything done must have been done for show. A good deed had to have had an ulterior motive. Hypercritics may even think of others Christians as “fakes,” “snobs,” or equally vilifying, presumptuous allegations. Cynicism may merely come from looking at others as acting as they themselves act.
It must be miserable to go through life predominantly seeing the worst in others and expecting the worst out of everything. My prayer is that wherever a hypercritical spirit roams, we will “exorcise” it. Let us use our tongues to praise more and bruise less.
– Neal Pollard