Is criticism contagious?

Published 6:53 am Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

 Have you ever been with a group of people when someone says, “What if someone you know won the lottery and gave you millions of dollars? What would you buy?”

First, there’s talk of how much money would be given to churches and nonprofit organizations. Then come the dreams of beach houses, chalets in the mountains, and the latest and greatest vehicles. But there always seems to be that one person in every group who says, “But think of the taxes we’d have to pay!”

I counter with, “Surely we’d be left with a few more dollars than we had before.”

I just don’t like negative thinking. I’d rather set a ‘wake up notice’ on my phone, than an ‘alarm!’ I’d rather say, ‘80% chance of sun,’ than ‘20% chance of rain.’

While I don’t like negative talk, what I believe to be even worse than complaining is criticism. Lately, when I hear critical words, or I am tempted to criticize someone, my thoughts turn to Miriam in the Bible.

Miriam was the sister of Moses and Aaron. She helped to spare his life when he was an infant (Exodus 2:1-10), was a prophet and song leader (Exodus 15:20, 21), but later she and her brother Aaron became critical of Moses as he led the Israelites through the wilderness in their journey to the promised land (Numbers 12).

God addressed the issue, removed His presence, and Miriam was left a leper. (I wonder if criticism is as contagious as leprosy?) Moses interceded for her, and although she was healed, she had to remain outside the camp for seven days. The people – approximately 2.5 million – did not move on until she was brought back. The progress of an entire nation was affected.

I think I’ll just focus on Matthew 7:1, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” 

Ronny can be reached at