Proverbs 25:18 A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a war club, or a sword, or a sharp arrow.
A trumpeter was once captured by the enemy. He pleaded with his captors: “Please spare me! I have no gun, I am not guilty of any crime. I have not killed a single one of your soldiers. I only carry this poor brass trumpet and play it when I’m told to.”
“That is the very reason for putting you to death,” his captors replied. “For, while you do not yourself fight, your trumpet stirs up all the others to battle. It causes may others to kill!”
So it is with our criticism of others. We may not hate, mistrust, or avoid the person we criticize, but our criticism can cause others to manifest these feelings and behaviors.
There once was a woman to whom gossip and criticism were so utterly distasteful that whenever someone brought up something negative about a person, she would say, “Come, let’s go and ask if this is true.” The tale-bearer was always so taken aback that he or she would beg to be excused. But the determined woman would insist on escorting the reluctant soul to the subject of the tale to verify its truth or to hear the other point of view. In time, no one repeated a tale or voiced a criticism in her presence.
Build up your friends, don’t tear them down. Pick your friends but not to pieces.