How Your Criticism of Others Might Be an Attack on You

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Battlefield of the Mind" by Joyce Meyer. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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How can your criticism of others harm you? What if you left judgment to God instead?

If you find yourself feeling lonely and unhappy, it may be because Satan is attacking your mind and leading you to sabotage your relationships. Joyce Meyer explains that Satan tries to convince you to judge and criticize others, thus causing you to alienate people.

Continue reading to better understand how criticism harms—not just others—but you, as well.

How Criticism of Others Is Harmful

No one is perfect, and since we’re all imperfect, Meyer urges us not to worry so much about what is wrong with other people. God can work on our faults with us, and He can work on others’ faults with them. By curbing our criticism of others—“minding our own business” when it comes to their faults—we can make more progress on our journey with God and leave ourselves less open to the devil’s attacks. 

Meyer reminds us that judging people is God’s job, not ours. When we judge and criticize, we cast ourselves into the role of God in another person’s life and set ourselves up to receive judgment later. Meyer urges us to remember that God calls us to love each other, not to judge. When we love people, we automatically look for the good in them, which is the opposite of judgment. Seeing the good rather than the “bad” in others keeps us in a positive mindset and sets us up to have more positive relationships.

The “Pygmalion Effect”: Another Reason to Look for the Good in Others

Looking for the good in others not only helps keep our mind positive, but it can also benefit the people we think positive thoughts about. Research shows that when we expect positive results from another person, they often behave more positively. This self-fulfilling prophecy is called the Pygmalion Effect, a term based on the work of psychiatrist Robert Rosenthal. 

One of Rosenthal’s studies looked at the performance of a group of elementary students over an academic year. At the beginning of the year, the researchers told teachers that a group of randomly chosen students were on the verge of an “intellectual growth spurt.” At the end of the year, the researchers found that those students actually did perform better than their peers. 

The researchers concluded that the teachers’ positive expectations of the “growth spurt” students accounted for the difference in performance. Since they believed that a specific group of students would succeed, the teachers spent more time with that group and challenged them more than the other students. These results illustrate how our thoughts about someone else shape our actions towards them and, ultimately, their behavior.
How Your Criticism of Others Might Be an Attack on You

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Joyce Meyer's "Battlefield of the Mind" at Shortform .

Here's what you'll find in our full Battlefield of the Mind summary :

  • How the Devil makes it his mission to corrupt our minds with negative thoughts
  • How to recognize the signs that Satan is attacking your mind
  • How to thwart Satan’s attacks and find happiness and fulfillment

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, science, and philosophy. A switch to audio books has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a creative nonfiction book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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