Article

A Critical Eye

Michael Beck Michael Beck

When a critical eye attaches itself to a person that person can do little right. Their every word and action is scrutinized to find new evidence of wrongdoing. Such a critical mindset can be applied to a politician, an athlete, even a whole class of people; but it is perhaps most damaging when we allow it to form against a person in our immediate circle or family.

A critical eye towards another individual (or group) arises when we have determined that we know a person’s heart and we can predict their actions. Because we have passed sentence on their character we then look for corroborating evidence to prove ourelves right. But who wants to be judged? Condemned? Thought the worst of? When one picks up that they are the target of a critical eye there is indignation and a natural instinct to find fault in return. Relationships sour quickly where a critical eye exists.

As believers we are called to win souls, not alienate them.

As believers we are called to win souls, not alienate them. We are not to operate according to our opinions and preferences, and even less should we walk in imaginations and speculations. We can disagree with another; we can even even seek to correct, but contention arises when we reveal contempt for them. Relationships immediately begin to “go south” and unnecessary antagonism is created by the folly of a critical eye.

The way of the world is to high-mindedly have an opinion about everything and everyone. The saints of God are to walk in lowliness of mind. We are to always seek to see people through the eyes of God. We are to have the mind of Christ. God does not give us the luxury of disliking people. We are to move beyond such attitudes and put on the love of God which even covers a multitude of sins.

There are consequences for failing to love. Targets of a critical eye easily develop a wounded spirit.

Our love must be genuine, it cannot be feigned or hypocritical. There are consequences for failing to love. Targets of a critical eye easily develop a wounded spirit. Whether a child, a spouse, a neighbor, a co-worker, or a President, one who believes that they can “never do right” in another’s eyes becomes defensive and counter-aggressive. Now sides form between two parties and their allies. All manner of charge and counter-charge fly back and forth. What a mess!

Would it not be better if we could guard ourselves against the formation of a critical eye? We are commanded to speak evil of no man. Our words reveal what is going on in our heart. The things we say have the power to wound and kill or heal and give life. Those with a critical eye don’t usually confront a person about their feelings, they go to a third party and “unload.” But word usually gets back to the person who is being found fault with. The battle then begins.

If we would love life and see many good days we must keep our tongue from evil. Find a place in God to bring all your thoughts and emotions. Bring your aggravation and worry into His presence and let Him correct what needs correcting in your spirit. The beam in our own eye should be removed before we behold the speck in another’s eye.

Spare yourself and others mountains of trouble – let God keep you from the “putting forth of the finger.” Let love and mercy and patience and prayer preserve you from a critical eye.

“Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity” (Isaiah 58:9)


Michael Beck is a pastor in New York City and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.