Stop Listening to the Wrong People By Roger Campbell

May 17th, 2012 | By admin | Category: Religion

A discouraged minister told me the reason for his melancholy mood.  He had just resigned as pastor of a church he had served for eleven years.  During this time as pastor, the church had grown from only a few families to a sizeable congregation.  He had enjoyed his work there until one of the members began to criticize him; then he had allowed this grumbler and a small group he had gathered to drive him to despair.

Since it’s always easier to be part of the faction than to get into the action, critics usually increase in number so this minister under fire had been feeling the heat.  Finally, tired of the attacks of these complainers, he had quit.  Now he regretted his resignation.

Ministers aren’t the only targets of cruel critics.  Fault-finders exist everywhere.

Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “The human race is divided into two classes – those who go ahead and do something and those who sit still and inquire why it wasn’t done another way.”

Some who are continually criticizing others do so to turn attention away from their own faults.  One writer warns constant critics as follows: “Criticizing others is a dangerous thing, not so much because you may make mistakes about them but because you may reveal the truth about yourself.”

When we find ourselves unable to please our critics, we’re in good company.  Some grumbled when our Lord healed sick people on the Sabbath and others complained because they felt He spent too much time with sinners.  Judas was upset when Jesus allowed a woman to anoint His head with an expensive ointment, saying it should have been sold and the money given to the poor.  Judas didn’t care about the poor, but linking his protest to helping the needy made him look good.  Those who focus on faults are always looking for ways to justify their caustic comments.

Peter said we are most like our Lord when we take unjust criticism patiently (I Peter 2:20-21), but that’s a tall order.  Few aspire to follow the loving steps that led to the cross.

Opportunities to demonstrate the reality of our faith when under fire abound because there is never a shortage of critics.   These negative nuisances are everywhere, continually searching for reasons to complain.  They are always the first to hear of anything wrong and feel it their duty to spread the news.  For centuries, their cruel tongues have kept ministers on the move, contributing to what a major news magazine once called “the game of musical pulpits.”

Are you a victim of critics in your church or community?  Lovingly tune them out.

Even the moon couldn’t keep shining if it paid attention to barking dogs.

The discouraged pastor finally found help in realizing he had been listening to the wrong people.  Many in his church had appreciated his dedication, but he hadn’t heard their compliments because he was so occupied with the cutting words of those who chose to focus on his faults.

Let’s stop listening to the wrong people.

Those who love, support and encourage us are gifts from God to enable us to live in the sunshine no matter how dark the day.

Roger Campbell is an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years.

He can be reached at rcministry@ameritech.net