“What He is showing me so far can be summed up as follows:
A critical spirit focuses us on ourselves and makes us unhappy. We lose perspective and humor.
A critical spirit blocks the positive creative thoughts God longs to give us.
A critical spirit can prevent good relationships between individuals and often produces retaliatory criticalness.
Criticalness blocks the work of the Spirit of God: love, good will, mercy.
Whenever we see something genuinely wrong in another person’s behavior, rather than criticize him or her directly, or — for worse — gripe about him behind his back, we should ask the Spirit of God to do the correction needed.
Convicted of the true destructiveness of a critical mind-set, on my knees I am repeating this prayer: “‘Lord, I repent of this sin of judgment. I am deeply sorry for having committed so gross an offense against You and against myself so continually. I claim Your promise of forgiveness and seek a new beginning.’”
I like this reflection on fasting from criticalness from Catherine Marshall. I think that it is helpful for framing lent as a time of fasting and leaning into what God might be calling us to lay down.
Submitted by Cara Bartlett; for the entire excerpt see our lenten reader, pages 87-89.
Excerpts taken from Spiritual Classics: Selected Readings on the Twelve Spiritual Disciplines (Richard Foster and Emilie Griffin, Editors. Harpercollins, 2000.)
For further reflection, today we’re reading John 15:1-8 in our community lenten reader.