Not the Sharpest Knife in the Drawer

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).
Police in Los Angeles put a robbery suspect in a lineup. When they instructed all the men to shout, “Give me your money, or I’ll shoot,” the suspect couldn’t contain himself. “That not what I said!” he objected.
Everyone’s a critic. No one likes to have his hard work misrepresented. Ambrose Bierce once said of a book he reviewed, “The covers of this book are too far apart.” Robert Benchley said of a play: “It was one of those plays in which the actors, unfortunately, enunciated too clearly.”
It’s amazing how creative we can be when offering criticism. We can find a fault in the most obscure places. Spouses, churches, and our children all “benefit” from our, er, analysis. They are such easy targets, because we know them so well, and they are, well, not perfect!
“The dogs were poorly supported by the rest of the cast,” Don Herald once dead-panned about a play. “He isn’t the kind of actor who stops a show,” another reviewer commented, “he is content to merely slow it up.”
Monuments weren’t made for critics. All that creative genius could have been put to so much better use than demolishing others. Instead of criticizing the Bible school program, why not teach? Rather than criticizing a young person, why not become his mentor and friend? When interrogating a family member does not work, why not try to inspire him instead?
“Chuang Tsu was born in the fourth century before Christ,” Oscar Wilde once observed, “the publication of his book in English two thousand years after his death is obviously premature.”
In spite of the cleverness of these reviews, it is still my contention that it takes more creativity, heart, and courage to build than to be a critic. Building takes time and patience, and the ability to work with other flawed, imperfect people. And the church is one grand exercise in getting along.
“Bear one another’s burdens,” Paul declared, “and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

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