(Author Unknown, Revised.)
1. Gossip. Slandering brothers and sisters in Christ is guaranteed to hurt feelings, destroy morale and disrupt unity. In fact, few things choke the life out of a congregation as quickly as gossip. It is estimated that hundreds of Christians abandon the church annually due to the devastating effects of gossip. (“Do not speak evil of one another, brethren.” James 4:11)
2. Complaining. Even the most dedicated of saints can be disheartened by incessant grumbling, murmuring and whining about new ideas, programs or activities. I know of elders and preachers that resigned because they could no longer put up with ceaseless complaining. (“Do all things without complaining and disputing…” Phil. 2:14)
3. The desire for attention. Some in the Lord’s church crave the praise of men. Moreover they are frequently jealous of those that receive more recognition than they do. To compensate, they openly criticize and demean the good that others do. (“Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” Gal. 5:26 )
4. Know-it-alls. Some believe that they know more than anyone else when it comes to preaching, organizing programs, teaching classes, leading in worship, planning fellowships, etc. If others fail to act on their “input” they frequently refuse to participate or are quick to criticize less-than-ideal results. (“Let us not become conceited…” Gal. 5:26)
5. Pettiness. Instead of focusing on the critical works of the church (glorifying God, saving souls and edifying the brethren), some concentrate on issues like the temperature of the building, crying infants or mediocre singing. By relentlessly harping on such matters, they distract other Christians from authentic priorities such as reaching the lost, visitation and encouraging one another. I was once compelled to criticize an eldership for spending 4 full hours debating whether to replace an aging Joy bus, but less than 4 minutes discussing the welfare of wayward souls. (“…avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.” 2 Tim. 2:23)
The aforementioned issues have discouraged thousands of Christians, and done incalculable damage to the Lord’s church. Because the church has her hands full fighting the devil, she needs all the support and cooperation she can get from individual Christians. Are you helping or hindering?
Jesus, always Jesus!