The vast majority who read our Update seem to appreciate all of the information and the considerable amount of work that goes into producing this publication on a weekly basis. We know that there are a few who also read our Update looking to try to find fault. Any difference in understanding, however minute, can be seized upon as justification of a personal stance as this information is circulated to their own audience. And as often happens, it can be slanted to suit a particular position. The outcome is often that of division and can be used as self justification. A little more study of God’s Word and a little less of personal opinions would do the world of good. The people of God should know better, but the lessons of history never seem to be learned.
Unfortunately, some very basic Biblical admonitions and instructions are completely ignored in this process. The Bereans (compare Acts 17:10-11) adopted the position of trying to find out “whether these things were so,” indicating a positive approach. It is the negative approach that is always looking for fault. The Scriptural approach is set out in many places, and one of the wise sayings of Solomon, found in Proverbs 10:12, is helpful in this regard: “Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins.” This should be the way that one should react–to soften, to cushion, to heal–not to try and broadcast any real or imagined differences which may inflate, in one’s eyes, his own ego, importance or position, but which does precisely nothing to enhance unity in the Body of Christ. Paul writes: “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10). This instruction by Paul is well known to Church of God members but can just as easily be either forgotten or ignored. We are told to live in peace (2 Corinthians 13:11), but that cannot be achieved when someone is always looking for faults. Christ told the accusers of the woman caught in adultery that “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (John 8:7).
Scripture clearly reveals that “the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12) and that “the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service” (John 16:2). So we shouldn’t be surprised at the attitudes of those who are always looking for fault which is probably a precursor for much worse to come.
Next time you see negative criticism emanating from a Church of God member, website or church organization–ask yourself why this is being done and whether it is something that is pleasing in the sight of God. The answer should be inescapable; otherwise, our knowledge of God’s Word is deficient. Rather than following the negative example of those who criticize, let us take the right approach and try, at all times, to be a thoroughly positive influence. God will surely be pleased with that–and with us.