As many of you know, I was not brought up in the church; therefore when I would hear about some of the crazy stories about elders and deacons fighting with each other with knives on the church lawn, it was unfathomable and made me more cynical about the Church. When I heard about people criticizing other churches about various doctrinal issues, it just didn’t make sense to me.
It wasn’t until I was in the thick of “the church life” when I started to feel the pain of the criticisms and even the hurtful things that people would say about me, as a pastor. It is not pleasant to hear from people (both anonymously and identifiable people) that you are a cult leader, too charismatic in theology, overly blunt, too goal-oriented, and etc. I guess God has graciously developed in me a thick skin. Therefore, when it comes to criticisms, I just allow it to bounce off me as much as possible. But of course, it is important to be humble enough to listen to the criticism.
Usually when people criticize me then I am fine with it because I do not play for their applause but when people criticize the church, it was a different story.
I read an article that gave a good perspective on this issue.
If Christ is our Bridegroom and the Church is His Bride, then whenever people criticize the Church, then they are criticizing Christ.
As a married man, who is in love with his wife, let me explain it this way. If someone criticizes Christina in front of me, then I would most like do something to them that will be very un-pastoral. It would fuel something in me that would make me want to protect Christina and even set that person straight because I love Christina.
I am wondering how many times Christ’s heart breaks because of the criticism that is launched against his Church (which is made up of many local churches). There is a saying that we mention during HMCC’s Membership Class: “If you ever find a perfect church, then please don’t join it because you will end up ruining it.”
There is no perfect church. But church is made up of imperfect people. This is why we, as members need to learn how to help sanctify it, grow it, and protect it. I love that one Under Armour commercial where the athlete says, “I will protect this house!” I am wondering if this is something that we need to remind ourselves with when there is criticism launch towards the Bride of Christ.
You can read the full article here.