While speaking at a Wisconsin church Bible conference, I met a discouraged visiting minister who said he had just resigned as pastor of a church he had served for 11 years. During his time as pastor, the church had grown from only a few families to a sizeable congregation. He had enjoyed his work there until one of the members began to criticize him; then he had allowed this grumbler to drive him to despair. Finally, tired of the attacks of his critic, he had quit.
Hearing the former pastor’s heartbreaking story reminded me of a paragraph in the book, “The Tongue — Angel or Demon?” that has been played out again and again in too many churches: “Contentious tongues have hindered the work of God a thousand times over. Critical tongues have broken the hearts and health of many pastors.” Here before me was living proof of author George Sweeting’s accurate observation.
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