Hypercritical people

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; 3:41 Cor. 1:10; 3:4
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

10 Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 4 For when one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not men?

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).  The Lord is to be the only wall builder in His church (Eph. 2:20-21Eph. 2:20-21
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

20 being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone; 21 in whom each several building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord;

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), 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. 16:3,31-35Num. 16:3,31-35
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 and they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and Jehovah is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the assembly of Jehovah? 31 And it came to pass, as he made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them; 32 and the earth opened its mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. 33 So they, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into Sheol: and the earth closed upon them, and they perished from among the assembly. 34 And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them; for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up. 35 And fire came forth from Jehovah, and devoured the two hundred and fifty men that offered the incense.

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).

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. 7:1-5Matt. 7:1-5
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

7 1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me cast out the mote out of thine eye; and lo, the beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

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).  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

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