Nothing is more hurtful and detrimental to a local church than to have members with a critical and negative attitude. Such an attitude is infectious and a few “well-placed” gripes and criticisms sprinkled with several timely “innuendos” and “open-ended questions” can sour a church’s spirit and enthusiasms and turn a peaceful congregation into a contentious, bitter battleground. A member’s relationship with local churches depends very much on attitude.
Examine Yourself. How do you talk to your brethren? What about visitors? Are your comments positive, encouraging and edifying, or do you spend your time criticizing the church and those who are trying to make correct, biblical decisions and scriptural solutions?
James says, “Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned” (Jas. 5:9). Peter says, “Be hospitable to one another without grumbling” (1 Pet. 4:9).
Concentrate On “Building Up” And Not On “Tearing Down. ” Are your remarks and comments offered to help the church grow, or are they merely given out of envy, bitterness or malicious motives? We must exercise care to “let no corrupt communication proceed out of our mouth” but always to speak “what is good for necessary edification” that we “may impart grace to the hearers” (Eph. 4:29).
Never cut down and criticize something unless you have a solution and are willing to work to implement it. Anyone can criticize! Criticism may be useful when mixed with other talents, but those whose only activity is to criticize the workers of the Lord might as well be buried, talent and all.”
Some criticize decisions made by the leadership in the church. They criticize the business meetings, but never attend one to offer suggestions to help. Others criticize the teachers, but never volunteer to teach themselves. Not a few criticize the preacher, and all too often that is the sum total of their effort. I was once told that you don’t need to know much about preaching to be a preacher, but then again, do they preach? No. Which tells you by their own account, that they no nothing at all about the scripture.
Some criticism is needed and can be helpful, if it is the right kind and stemming from the proper attitude and scriptural based. We have a right to criticize when the church has erred from the faith. Even then, it shouldn’t be with the intent to destroy brethren but to save them for the err of their ways.
Go To Your Brethren if you have a complaint. Go to the person involved and talk to him as a Christian should. Don’t ever engage in gossip, backbiting, and whispering campaigns to others. Do your best to communicate your complaint to your brethren in the right way. Usually this will clear the air and take care of the problem unless there is some malicious intent or an ulterior motive involved. Brethren need to talk to one another as brethren, with love in their hearts.
Ask Yourself The Question, “If every member of the church here had my attitude, what would the church be accomplishing right now?” Attitude and disposition are very important. They can build friendships or make enemies. We should be willing to make enemies because of our position and not because of our disposition.”
If You Disagree with a specific program of work or activity the church is engaged in on “scriptural” grounds (not just personal opinion or through stubbornness), go to the leaders of the church and discuss it with them. If it is wrong, the church needs to stop it and change to the biblical way. If it is a matter of judgment, maybe a solution can be reached with all examining all sides. But above all, don’t undermine the work of the church, the elders, and the preacher by complaining and accusing, behind their back. Not only is this sinful, but it is pure cowardly!
Conclusion: Attitude! It’s importance is immeasurable. Examine yourself. May I examine myself. Is our attitude helping the church or hurting it? If it is critical opinion we need to stop it. If it is biblical admonition, the church needs to correct the error and move forward. May we never tear down what the Lord built, died for and is the head thereof, His Church! (Mt 16:18)