It was over twenty years ago, but I still remember the email. We had announced a difficult ministry decision for the church, and though I imagined some might not be happy, I wasn’t prepared for what I received: a long— very long—email from a church member, full of words that would shift a film from PG-13 straight into R. It was full of unbridled fury, even calling into question my credentials as a pastor.
Thankfully, he and I were able to come together and talk through these issues. At the same time, I often come back to that as a sobering reminder of the impact of this kind of criticism. To be clear, it wasn’t that I was beyond criticism. Rather, the way this person responded could have caused serious damage to our relationship
and our larger work for the kingdom of God.
There is a place for honestly confronting others when done in a loving and gracious way. Yet maturity means learning to guard our hearts from an unhelpful critical spirit as we’ll learn in this story of Miriam and Aaron’s criticism of Moses.