"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Censure and Criticism from Christians

There is in all of us a desire to be liked by others. Some of us, according to John Piper in his new book Contending For Our All, may think that we can be kind enough to avoid criticism by our Christian friends.

This will not work, especially if we have any public role. You cannot be kind enough and merciful enough that no one will criticize you. The religious leaders called our Master "Beelzebub" and He was the epitome of mercy and grace.

Piper gives Mother Theresa as an another illustration. Whatever you may have thought of her spirituality or theology, you cannot deny Mother Teresa's soft heart and compassion toward the people of this world. Yet, Germain Greer cricticizes Mother Theresa by saying . . .

"At my convent school, the pious nuns who always spoke softly and inclined their heads with a small, patient smile were the ones to fear. They became the mother superiors. Mother Theresa is not content with running a convent; she runs an order of Mother Thersa clones, which operates world-wide. In anyone less holy, this would be seen as an obscene ego trip . . . Mother Teresa epitomizes for me the blinkered charitableness upon which we pride ourselves and for which we expect reward in this world and the next. There is very little on earth that I hate more than I hate that" (quoted in First Things, January 1993, p. 65).

Mother Teresa? Arrogant, egotistic, power-hungry, obscene, worthy of hate?

A life completely devoted to compassion, as Mother Teresa's, does not exempt one from criticism from other professing Christians.

What makes any of us think we should be exempt from it either?

In His Grace,


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