Earning the Right to Criticize
"There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers."1
I believe it was Dwight L Moody, the famous evangelist, who was once told by an irate church lady, "Mr. Moody, I don't like the way you do your evangelism [preaching]."
In reply Mr. Moody said, "I don't necessarily like all of it either, but it's the best way I know. Tell me, how do you do it?"
"Oh, I don't," was the reply.
"Well," said Moody, "I like the way I'm doing it better than the way you're not doing it."
It's always easy to know what to do when we don't have to do the job, and very easy to criticize others when we're not doing the work ourselves.
Some time ago when I was a member of a large group and things weren't going too well, I was asked what I thought about the situation and what could be done to improve things. I said that I didn't feel I had the right to criticize unless I was prepared to do something about it. I was, however, prepared to help, and several of us working together saw things greatly improve.
In this instance, as it is in many other instances, criticism without offering help would have only served to make matters worse and cause further dissension among the group. So, if we're not willing to put our shoulder to the wheel and do our bit, let's not stir up dissension through negative criticism. Furthermore, might I add that journalists, politicians, authors, and even preachers don't have the right to name others and confess their sins in public, without having first confessed their own sins in public.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please deliver me from ever having a negative, bitter, or critical attitude, and wherever I see a need, may I be willing to help if I am able to. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Proverbs 6:16-19 (NIV).