I was reading, recently in Numbers 12 and came across the story of Miriam and Aaron disagreeing with Moses’ choice of a wife. Their disagreement led them down a path of severe negativity and they became critical – quite critical in fact to the point that they even questioned their brother’s calling. There is so much about that story that strikes me as interesting.
//Miriam, not Aaron was struck with leprosy because of her critical heart.
//Aaron and Miriam were probably the closest people to Moses – they were his siblings.
//And leprosy, wow what an interesting judgment from God?
I can’t quite figure out why Miriam, and not Aaron. I’m putting that in the “To Ask God In Eternity” file. But the rest of the story speaks to me, convicts me, & challenges me to check myself before I wreck myself.
I know a critic’s heart all too well. I’ve walked with a critical heart in seasons of my life. Sometimes critical of the very people I am the closest too. Formulating opinions on their actions. Assuming I know more details to stories than I really do. Questioning motives. Believing the worst rather than the best about them. It never feels good to be critical. It’s like the feeling you get when you’ve eaten too much sugar. Sick inside.
I’ve also been on the receiving end of my fair share of criticism, especially when I’ve walked in roles of leadership. When you’re the one leading, there are opinions and lots of them as to how you should lead, what you should do, and sometimes people will share those opinions in love and grace and other times folks just form wrong and uninformed judgments. There’s something sinister about a critical heart. It’s cannibalizes and devours relationships with negativity, isolation and accusation.
It’s ironic that leprosy was Miriam’s fate, because a negatively critical heart is self destructive. It eats away at you. Deteriorates you and the bonds of brotherhood with others.
I’ve been challenged lately to check my heart for criticism and negativity. I am a “justice” person and when I see what I think is something that doesn’t seem right or fair I find myself settling into a jaded place of negativity and criticism. I’m not enjoyable to be around. I’m having to learn the importance of prayer and the value of relationships. Praying when I see things or people doing things that I don’t understand. Then leaning on the collateral of the relationships I have with those people to talk about the things I don’t understand. Ask questions. Pursue peace at all costs.
Our world is a very critical place right now. Seemingly more than ever. I pray for me, and for us, especially those of us who claim to belong to Christ – that we wouldn’t fall prey to the spirit of criticism. But that we would truly love and love well.
God help us.
Help us to be different from the world in which we live. Help us to love one another. To pray for one another. To choose to communicate with one another rather than criticize, make judgments and ultimately self destruct.
It’s critical that we not be – critical.
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. – Hebrews 12:14 (ESV)
Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening]. – 1 Corinthians 13:7 (AMP)