A Little More Sympathetic

When I first began my work as a minister, I was far too critical of other ministers–especially those whose work is preaching.  I know, there are some people who are in a role for which they are not suited or gifted.  Yes, I know there are people who preach every Sunday who are neither prepared or who present the Gospel (in the best and most biblical sense of that word).

Nevertheless, I admit that much of my criticism of others stemmed from both arrogance and insecurity.   I can recall hearing a person preach and I would be looking for mistakes.  "This guy is supposed to be so good!  Well listen to what he said about…"  I might not say this to anybody but I sure thought it and even enjoyed it (kind of perverse humor–don’t you think?).  Not really the Jesus style.

I have noticed in more recent years that I have become more sympathetic with people in this work who are doing their best to preach, to encourage people, and to in some way present Jesus.  In the last two weeks, I heard two different people preach.  One was with a church in North Alabama.  The other served a church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  I found myself wanting them to do well.  I found myself really delighting in what they were doing that was encouraging, helpful, and most of all that emphasized Jesus.

In the meantime, I am more thankful than ever for people who listen to me preach every week and who encourage me and give me the benefit of the doubt.  I am thankful for those who are a part of our assemblies and who refuse to be distracted by whatever mistakes I might make.

So–this is what I would like to do:

Look for what is good in the people around me.

Attempt to be helpful–instead of just criticizing.

Be more aware of my thought world.  I don’t want to go through my day, constantly critiquing people.


That sounds more like Jesus.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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3 thoughts on “A Little More Sympathetic

  1. Jim: Thanks for being vulnerable in posting this blog. Many years ago when I would listen to you preach, I wanted to be as good. Today … a quarter of a century later … I simply want to focus on Jesus and lift him up. I, too, am very grateful for those who listen week after week. What grace and mercy!

  2. Jim, Thanks for sharing this. Good thoughts.

    I have gone through something similar in my life. I now realize much better that we’re all in this together, and we need to encourage others and be faithful ourselves, even through our own weaknesses.

  3. Thanks Gregg–Isn’t it good to come to a place where the pressure is off because he is enough? I appreciate you.

    Thanks Ted–you are so right. We are all in this together.