Criticism (Job 33:1-33 & Job 34:1-37).
As Rick Warren has pointed out, ‘Criticism is the cost of influence. As long as you don’t influence anybody, nobody is going to say a peep about you. But the greater your influence… the more critics you are going to have.’
Poor Job, who was in a prominent position of leadership (see chapter 1), has to put up with a constant tirade of abuse from his critics. It is more distressing because it comes from his so-called ‘friends’. Criticism is always hardest when it comes from those who should be our friends. It is sad when unjustified criticism of Christian leaders comes from within the church itself – from the so-called ‘friends’.
It must have been extremely galling for Job to have to listen to Elihu, who was much younger and yet convinced of his own experience, arrogantly saying to Job, ‘I will teach you wisdom’ (33:33) and ‘Job speaks without knowledge; his words lack insight’ (34:35). And to suggest that, because he disagreed with his critics, ‘To his sin he adds rebellion [against God]’ (v.37).
Elihu, like so many critics, claims to be ‘carefully thought out’ and to ‘have no ulterior motives’ (33:2–3). He claims that others agree with him, ‘All right-thinking people say – and the wise who have listened to me concur – “Job is an ignoramus. He talks utter nonsense”’ (34:34–35, ).
We too can easily fall into the trap of judging God’s people on a superficial basis, just as Elihu does. Beware of the dangers of criticising others.
Although it has been pointed out that no one ever built a monument to a critic, it does not stop us all wanting to be critics. Be very careful of what you say about other people. And if you are on the receiving end of criticism, don’t be surprised.
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