Watch Your Words!

I, of all people, need to remember this! If we are overly critical of sermons, and too vocal in our criticisms, we may be injuring those who God wishes to benefit from whatever truth is being proclaimed.

A pious lady once left a church…in company with her husband, who was not [a believer]. She was a woman of unusual vivacity, with a keen perception of the ludicrous, and often playfully sarcastic. As they walked along toward home she began to make some amusing and spicy comments on the sermon, which a stranger, a man of very ordinary talents and awkward manner, had preached that morning in the absence of their pastor. After running on in…sportive criticism for some time, surprised at the profound silence of her husband, she turned and looked up in his face. He was in tears. That sermon had sent an arrow of conviction to his heart! What must have been the anguish of conscience-stricken wife, thus arrested in the act of ridiculing a discourse which had been the means of awakening the anxiety of her unconverted husband.1

1.Quoted from "The Central Presbyterian" in William James Hoge’s Blind Bartimaeus and His Great Physician (London: T. Woolmer, 1881) pp. 79-80

8 Responses

  1. What a powerful quotation. If God is sovereign then surely He can use “a man of very ordinary talents and awkward manner” as the means to His saving work. It is not the might of the preacher, but the might of the One whom he speaks on behalf of!

  2. Nicholas T. Batzig

    Amen! It should also give us who struggle to be better preachers the confidence that God is at work when His word is preached. Despite our giftedness or lack thereof. Of course, this does not mean we should be content to be mediocre preachers!

  3. C. Rice

    Many times critical words soon turn to or can be interpreted as discord. If we believe our pastors and preachers are called of God to preach, and our discernment through the Holy Spirit tells us the words and thoughts are Biblical, we should be as careful as David was of ridiculing King Saul…he refrained because Saul was the anointed king. We should hold our tongues and think of those messages we find fault in to test if the message wounded some sensitivity based on a sin in our lives or if we disagreed with some point because of a truth that was not presented. We’re to Beriens but be sure our fur is not ruffled because we are really feeling guilty about something.

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