Read Numbers 12
Criticism is a contagious disease because it negatively affects other people. Moses found himself the target of his critical siblings who thought they deserved to be elevated to a higher leadership station like their younger brother. Their complaint . . .
Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Hasn’t He also spoken through us? Numbers 12:2
As you can see in this story, the Lord doesn’t look too highly on people who criticize–especially if the criticism is pointed toward those He has put in a place of leadership.
Here are four reasons people are critical of others:
• High self-esteem – Critical people have a hard time apologizing because they think they’re right. They set the standard by which everyone else should live. Scripture teaches otherwise: “If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else” Gal 6:3-4.
• Low self-esteem – Many people criticize others because it makes them feel better about themselves. They want to bring others down to a level–or lower–playing field. Paul the apostle admonished, “Build each other up” 1 Thess. 5:11 and “Honor one another above yourselves” Rom 12:10.
• Negative spirit – Some people see and judge everything through flawed vision–similar to the blind man who said he saw people like trees walking (see Mark 8:22-26). Jesus had to touch him a second time. People with negative spirits don’t want to resolve issues. They just love to criticize. These people need another touch from the Lord!
• Envy – Believe it or not, some individuals criticize others because they’re just plain envious and wish they could have what the other guy has. This was the case with Miriam and Aaron. The best cure for envy is to recognize it for what it is and then cut off the ugly green head as soon as it manifests.
The Lord quickly dealt with Miriam and Aaron, because He knew the effect it would have on the entire nation. The fact that Miriam was struck with leprosy is significant. Leprosy was a contagious disease. So is a critical spirit. God manifested in her body what was happening in her heart. This had to be a major wake-up call to her, Aaron, and the entire nation.