My friend Jack told me a story of John Wesley apparently saying to his fellow-Christian and friend, George Whitefield, “Your God is my devil.”
It’s a clever little line. As I really thought about it, it started to blow my little mind.
Is it possible that someone would view the devil as God and/or view God as the devil?
Jesus told the Pharisees, who believed they were going to great lengths to convert people to God, that they were doing the complete opposite and, actually, converting people to Hell.
This would seem to imply that there are still a good many people who believe they are following the ultimate source of good in the universe who are actually following the ultimate sources of evil in the universe.
To be a little less dramatic, there are lots of people who believe they are feeding and living for something bigger than themselves, who are actually feeding and living for their own ego (which sometimes likes to act bigger than ourselves).
To put this all a different way, it would seem that what some people frame as a criticism, is actually a compliment. For instance, I was at an event where there were protesters and they were chanting that the person I was there to hear actually believes that Hitler is in Heaven along with child pedophiles.
That only made me want to hear more from that person. I view that as a tremendous compliment. If someone said that about me, I would glow.
I’ve heard through the rumor mill/grape vine that our church doesn’t talk about sin enough.
Interestingly enough, 1 John says that anyone born of God does not continue to sin. Jesus said to be perfect. Thomas Merton says the perfect have no need to reflect on the details of their actions.
Their criticism could actually be taken as a tremendous compliment.
There are many more examples.
(I suppose it’s important to add my definition of “a critic” here: the point of a critic is only to point out faults to make themselves feel better.)
With all of this I’ve learned to take the critics with a grain of salt. Not because they are wrong, but simply because they are critics. Criticism is subjective. It’s an opinion. It’s often the opinion of someone who I find to be more devil than God… by nature of it being critical in the first place.
I’ve learned to be less critical. What if my God is my ego? What if my criticism is a compliment to them and will only encourage them in whatever they are doing so that I will only become more critical?
Be humble. Be complimentary. If the person wants to take it critically, that will be on them, and it will be of much more power anyway.