Criticism is popular in our culture. We have movie critics, food critics, business critics, and even church critics. That’s right, there are “secret shoppers” out there who visit churches for the sake of writing critical reviews.
In the church, we have those who criticize the music. “It’s too loud”, “doesn’t mention Jesus enough”, “the musicians aren’t skilled”, etc.
People who criticize Bible teachers are plentiful. Teachers are complained about for being too positive, too long winded, too boring, and not deep enough, to name a few.
The problem with criticism is that it’s so subjective. A great deal of opinion goes into criticism.
You know the old saying(s), “Opinions are like noses…” or “Opinions are like bellybuttons…” or “Opinions are like wristwatches…” You get the picture. Everybody has one.
The other problem with all this criticism is that it does a horrible job of representing a loving, forgiving Jesus. We become a culture of fault finding, rather than a people of grace. 1st Peter 4:8 tells us that “Love covers a multitude of sins.“ I believe it also covers a multitude of sermons we didn’t care for, praise songs that were botched, and church decisions we didn’t agree with.
I often wonder how the rest of the world views a church that criticizes other churches for the way they worship, preach, decorate, or perform outreach. Or, worse yet, a church that is full of gossip and division. How is that environment supposed to appeal to the lost? That’s like inviting a hurting person to come and be a part of an unhealthy, dysfunctional family! If our church signs were truthful, they’d say, “Come and be miserable with us!”
I’m not saying all criticism is bad. Honest feedback can be a welcome gift, but I have reservations about anyone who makes it their “ministry” to criticize others. There are better platforms to stand on.
If our role as Christians is to point others to Christ, then I suggest we be more like Jesus. Sure he confronted pharisees, but he also healed the sick, freed the demon possessed, fed the hungry, and demonstrated greater love than any other in history. Maybe we should hold off on the criticism until we’ve done some healing, delivering, feeding, and loving.
If we can be more like Jesus, more seekers will be drawn to Him.
We should think about that the next time we feel compelled to criticize.
“You may find hundreds of faultfinders among professed Christians; but all their criticism will not lead one solitary soul to Christ.” ~Dwight L. Moody