As reports of revival spread across the nation, there is something else that will quickly spread: criticism of revival.
But what kind of criticism is it?
Is it helpful, constructive correction, the kind that gives life? Or is it unhelpful, destructive criticism, the kind that brings death?
Constructive correction is good and necessary. It exposes error, warns of coming danger, shores up weak spots, reveals sore spots, and uncovers blind spots. It is motivated by love and is willing to be misunderstood.
It is patient and persistent, and it never says, “I told you so!”
Its words are right and its spirit is right. It is Christlike in character as well as in content.
Constructive correction helps – even if it hurts. It may sting in the short term, but it will soothe in the long term. It gets its hands dirty and serves on the front lines, never engaging in smug spiritual sniping from its snug security zone. Perish the thought. The genuinely constructive critic is a cherished co-worker and friend.
Thank God for righteous correction and rebuke! Thank God for those who speak the truth in love, regardless of the consequences, regardless of who rejects them or accepts them. These people are a vital gift to the Church, and all of us would do well to listen to them when they speak – whoever and wherever they are.
The same cannot be said for destructive criticism. It does far more harm than good.
So, let’s consider some of the characteristics of a destructive critical spirit....