The Gift of Criticism
James 3:17 The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
When it comes to wisdom, I have two desires in conflict with each other. I truly want to have the wisdom that James describes but I also want to be known for being wise. James says however, that I cannot pursue both heavenly wisdom and the praise of man. He says that, like everything else in life, my desire for self-elevation corrupts my pursuit of that which is truly good.
James insists that true wisdom does good works out of humility and does not seek the accolades of the world. True wisdom exists for and pursues the good of others. It is peaceable, gentle and full of mercy. True wisdom cares little if it is recognized by the world and does not seek its own praise.
In contrast, human wisdom is all about selfish ambition. The wisdom of man says, What good is being wise if no one recognizes me for it? I have great vision and I need make sure that everyone knows it. I must use my gift of discernment to point out all the flaws of others, thus further elevating myself.
Many of us could have gift of true wisdom, but in our focus on self instead of God, we have developed the gift of criticism. We are jealous, selfish and seek to elevate ourselves by focusing on the defects of others. But I am able to see what others cannot! I have a gift and I need to use it! We wield our wisdom like a sword, cutting others down, elevating ourselves.
We all know people like this. They want so badly for the world to see them as wise. They may even be known as wise, but when we get close to them, we see that they are more about self-promotion than God-promotion. Then, in our own defectiveness, we want to expose their hypocrisy for all to see. It is up to me to show the world what you really are! I will show others how wise I am… Oh wait, now I’m doing it…
It should be my concern to keep my focus on God, pursuing true wisdom instead of the praise of man. I need to focus more on what God is saying to me through his word and less about how many people read my blog. I need to focus more on loving those around me and less on loving myself. I need to pursue God, not self.