Earning the Right to Criticize
"Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior."1
Dwight L. Moody, the famous evangelist, was once told by an irate church lady, "Mr. Moody, I don't like the way you do your evangelism."
In reply, Mr. Moody said, "I don't necessarily like all of it either, but it's the best way I know how. 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 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 with several of us working together things greatly improved.
In this instance as in most other instances, criticism without offering help would have only made matters worse and caused greater dissension among group members—something that happens to be detestable to God! So, if we're not willing to put our shoulder to the wheel and help, let's not stir up dissension through negative criticism.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be positive in all that I say and do and not have a negative, critical attitude when I am not prepared to do anything to bring about creative and helpful change. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Ephesians 4:31 (NLT)