What drives more people from church than anything else? Well, my own experience tells me it’s judgmentalism. I’m sad to say, I’ve seen quite a few people leave the church because they were criticized by others or feared being criticized after something happened for which they felt they would be judged. I’m not picking on any one particular church. And, really, I’m not picking on just the church. Humanity, in its brokenness, seems to beset with a critical spirit.
Often, it is our way of feeling better about ourselves. John Stott said, “We have a fatal tendency to exaggerate the faults of others and minimize the gravity of our own. We have a rosy view of ourselves and a jaundiced view of others.” Isn’t it true that we are quick to find fault in everyone else except ourselves? None of this is what Jesus wants from His disciples. Christians need a discerning, not a critical spirit. A discerning, not critical, spirit is what will preserve unity within the body of Christ, without sacrificing the integrity of the Christian faith. This week, as we continue our journey through the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives us three instructions for cultivating a healthy spirit within the church. They’re sure to fuel church growth, if not in numbers, certainly in depth.