I addressed some of the criticism that The Shack has had thrown at it. We unfortunately see the dark side of the church when people feel like they have to be "fruit inspectors" for everyone else. I believe it is important to judge right from wrong and good from bad. It's important to identify true heresy. But how we go about doing that is very important. Plus, there are times that we too quickly jump to conclusions. What might look like rotten fruit may just be undeveloped fruit or maybe an unknown fruit. So we should be "quick to listen and slow to speak" when commenting on many things.
I like what Paul said to the Corinthian church.
My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.1 Corinthians 4:4,5Did you catch what he said at first? His conscience is clear...but that didn't necessarily mean that he was innocent. Humility caused him to hold out the possibility of being wrong. And he was willing to let Jesus point that out when he returns. He was in no rush to judgment.
I don't always hear that kind of humility in the voice of church critics. They are often convinced of how right they are and how wrong others are. They see things in very narrow terms. And they have an urgency to let their concerns be known. Sadly they don't realize how "wrong" they are by insisting on being "right". They make both the church and God look bad, causing many to steer clear of the church.
Whether it is in critiquing The Shack or anything/one else let's be careful with our words. Let's think the best. Hope the best. Believe the best. I think this honors God.
The Shack is not a perfect model of God but it helps. Let's learn from it what we can and forgive it's weaknesses. I think that's good advice for dealing with each other as well.