CRITICISM: FROM STUMBLING BLOCK TO STEPPINGSTONE

We all feel wounded by a critic's arrows, but they can become goads to progress.

My wife recently shared with me something she had read. "People can be divided into three groups: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened." I quickly added a fourth group: those w ho don't like what happened, whatever it was!

This tendency has roots deep in human nature. It's much easier to criticize another person than to offer something constructive ourselves. Attacking the ideas of someone else gives a feeling of superiority. It hides the fact that in the secret room of many Christians there is nothing-no praver, no reflection, no spiritual discipline. So people flee from dealing with their own inner problems by dwelling on another person's shortcomings. There is little that will destroy the momentum of a church as rapidly as unbridled criticism.

Critical eyes often focus on the church leader. (Did something inside you just say "Amen" spontaneously?) How often has someone cornered you and said, "I hate to be critical, BUT. … ...

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