The Cancer of Criticism

be quiet

A few years ago I came across a radio show that disturbed me. The show was all about the answers to living wisely according to Scripture. Super idea. To live in keeping with Scripture is at the very center of what it takes to succeed. The problem was the host was the one who decided the precise way of seeing issues. It was a real “My way or the highway” perspective.

This guy’s answers to anyone who disagreed with him was to knock the heck out of them for being “Unbiblical, ” and sometimes that was true. More often than not, though, they were people who lived in the confines of Scripture but areas where he didn’t hold value for this or that. Another way to put it – everyone is crazy except him. As the joke goes – a conversation between a mother and son in a Pennsylvania Amish family the kid says, “Mother, me thinks that only thee and me are saved, and I often wonder about thee!”

It’s that sort of criticism that breeds cancer between Believers and in the midst of entire congregations. When your attitude is that you have it together, but others don’t, then you are smug to the point of not being teachable. You show that you have the ultimate perspective. You pick up a sword with that attitude. When you do others in, before long you will do yourself in.

It was just a matter of time until this guy did himself in by criticizing the wrong person and his group. During a broadcast, he said something off the cuff that most would probably consider no biggie. At the end of the show, he signed off, as always, with “See you tomorrow.”, but there never was a tomorrow.

He committed career suicide on live radio nationwide. The result – he lost his base and was removed from the network of several dozen syndicated stations around the country. He was never heard from again, that is until recently.

Recently this guy announced that he left the world of evangelical Christianity and joined another part of the Body of Christ. He is starting a daily show that focuses on his newfound faith.

He’s still a part of the Body of Christ, just in a radically different shape, history and in some cases, theology than what he’d preached before. Not only had he preached it – he expressed that his approach to Scripture and the Christian life was part and parcel of the biblical message. And now – a 180-degree flip-flop. He could not have made a more radical change.

In the world of human biology, we know certain foods and activities increase the risk of cancer. How do we lower the risk of dying of cancer? We just stop doing those things! Also, when you sense something is physically off, seek medical help.

Spiritual cancer works the same way. Each time you use it you infect yourself with cancer.

Drop the sword! Just let it go. Let God do for you want you cannot nor ever will be able to do the impossible – to take revenge – to put people in their place. Once you drop your sword you will surely pick it up – again and again – I know I do. I’ve bent over so many times to take up my sword, I now have back problems!

But still, each time I get it the only way to move forward is to drop it again. Then drop it again. Then drop it again. Repeat as many times a possible and move forward.

Walk by love!

Steve has spoken, mentored and modeled to churches and leaders around the world with the simple message that anyone – regardless of their gifting or experience – can be involved in bringing God’s loving kindness to others. His first book, Conspiracy of Kindness has been translated into several languages with more in the works. His first book has sold over 300,000 copies. Altogether his books have sold over 500,000 copies.


  1. Dear Steve,

    I really enjoy your blogs
    I was so happy to find out that you have your articles on line.
    I came to the Cinncinatti Vineyard church quite awhile ago with the Wickliff Vineyard and sometimes my friend and I would come up for special servant evangelism events you had going on. I just want you to know how much I learned from you and your church participating though out the years I came.
    I am now using the ideas that I learned from that time and we are implementing them into the church I go to now. One of my favorites was Mathews Party which I hope to be doing soon in an area up here,
    I have always practiced walk in love because I believe we bring more people to Christ that way and to try not be judgemental.
    Thank you for continuing to spread the word by love


    Vickie Smith

  2. I struggle with people/ churches that have “ALL” the answers and criticize you if you don’t fall in line with their thinking. I grew up in churches that had the attitude, “come see what we are doing for God, and you better behave a certain way we don’t want you around. I remember you sharing a story about a Pastor that was giving you some grief about the all sinners that attended VCC, and your response has stuck with me to this day. The way I remember it you said to him, ” Isn’t that where they belong?” It Changed how I see people, we’re all on a journey and it’s a lot easier to love people than to criticize.

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