Dangerous criticism

Selwyn starts to look at ‘another distinctive of the Early Church: the ability to reconcile or hold together in unbroken fellowship strong people who differed.’ The verses being examined today, are Acts 6: 1 – 7; these verses cover the following: that, the Grecian Jews began to (secretly) complain that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.

As Selwyn states: ” … there is nothing wrong with criticism, providing it is presented openly and honestly. Criticism is dangerous, however, when it is expressed covertly and not brought out into the open. Fellowship is based on confidence; secret criticism breaks that confidence. Once the apostles got wind of what was happening, they took immediate action to resolve the issue. … Churches have been split because the leaders decided to pray and not to act. It’s not that prayer is unimportant; it’s that some things need action.”

In my mind, it’s also true that gossip breaks the confidence within the fellowship – in the repetition of gossip, often interpretation errors and bias opinions modify the truth (if there was any in the first place) to such an extent that it damages the cohesion of the community. Gossip, by it’s very nature, often has at its core some type of ‘secret’ criticism. Do you agree?

In addition, while I agree with Selwyn’s comment about prayer – more than likely their prayer is answered (that is, they do receive God’s advice on the action required), but they (the leaders) fail to act because of their lack of conviction and courage.

The prayer for today is: “Father, please give your leaders of your Church the courage and confidence they need to face and deal with every issue that threatens the unity of Your Body. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.”