Criticism

by Richard Mansel, managing editor
criticism.jpgI recently heard the following quotes. The first person said, “I live around the corner from a Kroger but I rarely ever go in there.” The second replied, “Almost none of the Kroger brands are worth buying.”
Was I listening to disgruntled shoppers or a competitor of Kroger? No. I was listening to two Kroger employees criticizing their company to a customer in the middle of a busy store.
What were they telling the people who were hearing them? They should be shopping elsewhere. If we enter a restaurant and an employee meets us at the door and says, “You shouldn’t eat here. The food is lousy.” What would we do? Most likely, we would leave.
If it were our names on the sign and these were our employees, how we would feel? We were likely spending a lot of money on advertising that we could hardly afford and they were chasing hard-earned customers away.
A negative public perception of a business can destroy it very quickly. People usually have options of where they can shop, so we must be careful not to alienate them.
If this were true in terms of business, why would it not also be true of the Lord’s church?
If we are criticizing the Lord’s church in front of other people, why would those who hear us, ever want to attend the Church?
If retail stores do not get enough business, they may close and people will lose their jobs and all that that entails. Yet, if the same thing happens to the Church, souls are lost!
Almost all of us have been guilty of criticizing the church in front of non-Christians. We need to repent and never do so again.
God has ways of dealing with problems between Christians (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 6:1-11). We must remember that and stop dragging these problems into the streets. A discussion of doctrine is another matter but we must keep it on the doctrine rather than on person. We must be careful not to be bring shame on the Lord and his church in our diatribe.
Maybe we need to renew our understanding of what the Church is and to whom it belongs. The Church is Christ’s body, purchased with his blood (Ephesians 1:22-23; Acts 20:28). It bears his name and must be delivered in its purity back to God in the end (1 Corinthians 15:24). The Church is the “bride of Christ” (Revelation 21:2,9).
A man who was insulting the local congregation would likely be ready to fight if someone insulted their wife. Yet, they see no problem insulting the Bride of Christ in front of Jesus?
We need to remember that we are all ambassadors for Christ (Matthew 5:14; Ephesians 4:1). God depends on us to take the gospel to the world (Matthew 28:20).
Let us always be respectful of the Church. People are listening very carefully to what we are saying. Let us praise the Lord rather than impugn his body.

9 Replies to “Criticism”

  1. “A negative public perception of a business can destroy it very quickly. People usually have options of where they can shop, so we must be careful not to alienate them.”
    Very true. What is worse than unfair murmurs and grumbles is deserved and fair criticism that goes unheaded. It wasn’t unfair to be critical of Israel for not accepting the word of the prophets or of the Son of God. Constructive criticism is always welcome: grumblers and complainers should be ware lest they are treated by God as Korah and Dathan.

  2. If I criticize, I do so in private. But I try to make positive criticism… Not negative.. If I make negative criticism, It usually makes me feel bad and so I ask for forgiveness later and fight to not criticize at all.. I have never said anything about a church though.. Who am I to judge the house of god.. I would never criticize the church of god because it saves souls and there is nothing constructive about it.. It would be be more destructive than constructive.

  3. Thanks for the opportunity to comment:
    I just happened to be searching for some COC links on the net and happened upon this comment. I do not like that negative quote about Kroger’s. It’s a very good alternative to Wal*Mart. Certainly, I don’t care for all their store brands, but their natural Peanut Butter is reasonably priced and better tasting than national brands. Also their brand grape jam is a tasty and inexpensive choice of mine. They have good buys in the meat department and have butchers on hand…not as is the case for the previously mentioned discount store. The familiar faces of the cashiers also seem friendlier.

  4. Carolyn, thanks for reading the article and visiting Forthright. As you may have noticed, I was shopping in Kroger and do so at least once a week. It was the Kroger employees who were insulting the company. We use Kroger brands all the time at home.
    I hope you will come back and visit Forthright.

  5. Richard — I agree and that’s why I try to avoid any discussion of opposing beiefs in “public” forums — and that includes Facebook and many blogs — I think we should limit this type of dialog to discussion lists, or specific FB groups or blogs that are clearly intended for a specific audience — where the people involved in and receiving the information have asked to be involved — and even then we need to keep the focus on the issue — not the person —
    God Bless
    Charlie

  6. I would like to add that it is indeed a slippery slope that leads to apostasy. Believing ourselves to be infallible interpreters and appliers of the word begins with a single step.

  7. Richard, brother, no, this is not in response to something you have said.
    You rightly wrote, “A man who was insulting the local congregation would likely be ready to fight if someone insulted their wife. Yet, they see no problem insulting the Bride of Christ in front of Jesus?”
    However, fair criticism spoken in love as to the mis-application of the word by a church is absolutely necessary for growth and is not intended to be insulting the local congregation. However, carnal members can interpret fair criticism as if someone were attacking them and respond carnally.
    In the old days, prophets were put to death. Today, preachers simply have their livelihood, not necessarily their lives, snatched away. Surely you know of a preacher or two this has happened to?

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