"We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men."1
"A young boy complained to his father that most of the church hymns were boring to him—too far behind the times, tiresome tunes and meaningless words. His father put an end to the discussion by saying, 'If you think you can write better hymns, then why don't you?' The boy went to his room and wrote his first hymn. The year was 1690. The teenager was Isaac Watts. 'When I Survey the Wondrous Cross' and 'Joy to the World' are among almost 350 hymns written by him. Feeling Bored? Let the world remember you for 300+ years!"2
I recall reading about a lady who said to Evangelist Dwight L. Moody, "I don't like the way you preach," to which Mr. Moody replied, "I don't either. How do you do it?" I recalled Moody's response when the president of a denominational college (seminary) in Australia was questioning the value of our outreach work and asked, "And how do you handle your follow-up?" So I asked him how he handled his. He replied, "I don't. I teach." A businessman once asked me the same question so I said to him, "If you give us the needed financial support we'll develop the best follow-up program." He walked out without saying a word.
Constructive criticism is fine—providing we are prepared to do something about what we are being critical about—rather than just being negative and becoming a part of the problem.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please deliver me from having a negative critical attitude always looking for the faults and weaknesses in what others do. However, when I see a need for improvement in any area, please help me so that any criticism I give will be constructive—and help me to be willing to do what I can to help fix what needs to be fixed. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. 2 Corinthians 8:20-21 (NIV).
2. Richard Jones, Parish Bulletin, Good Shepherds Wailuku, Diocese of Hawaii. © The Anglican Digest. Cited in Encounter magazine (Australia) Vol. 38, No. 1, 2007.