Ever known a person who irritated you more and more? Someone that you just couldn’t stand, someone that you found yourself, dare I suggest, hating from the core of your being? Feeling that way can happen to anyone and does happen to almost everyone at some point or points in life. The irritated person blames the irritator for making them feel that way, but it really isn’t that person’s fault.

I remember a sermon where the pastor said, “A critical spirit is a sign that you are distant from God.” This was a shock. Before the sermon, we sang to the Lord during a beautiful time of worship and I believed that I loved God. But I was also critical of so much going on around me. I felt justified in being critical because the things (or people) I made fun of or spoke out about were (I thought) worthy of criticism. I was blind.

The Pharisees felt the same way. They hated Jesus more and more as he broke their rules and claimed to be from God. Look at their interaction with the man Jesus healed who had been born blind. John 9:24, “So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, ‘Give glory to God. We know that this man (Jesus) is a sinner.” Give glory to God by agreeing with us. Give glory to God by hating this guy like we do. Give glory to God by acknowledging that he is the problem, not us. It is not our hearts that need to change. This irritant, this pest, this problem of a person needs to go. 1 John 2:9 says this about it, “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.” Blinded.

I’m not saying that none of the people around us have problems, but I am saying that if you find yourself embittered toward or hating your spouse, a family member, a former friend, or anyone in your life, you are blind to what is really happening in your heart.

Jesus looked at all the losers, creeps, and idiots making his life miserable and said, Luke 23:34 “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.” Hate keeps people blind and comes from blindness. What is the cure for that blindness? Let God’s light shine. Expose the critical spirit and the hateful heart. Confess it and walk into loving and accepting people as they are. God does it. We can do it with each other.

Pastor John Riley

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