Spiritual leaders have been (and often are) favorite targets of critical analysis and unjust criticism! It’s been that way for a long, long time… How they dress, their hygiene and grooming, their idiosyncrasies, their spouse, their children, something they say (or fail to say), where they live, what they drive, issues of personal style… You name it, all favorite targets for microscopic evaluation and negativity.
Question is…. Is the Lord pleased?
There’s an account in the Bible that was part of my reading this morning (Numbers 12) that should cause caution! In fact, it even involved criticism of a “family member” who was a spiritual leader.
Moses’ sister, Miriam, and Aaron, his brother, had issues with his spouse… “that Cushite woman!” they said. It didn’t stop there either… They were jealous of Moses’ position and influence… “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?”
Moses was NOT the kind of guy who fought back and sought to defend himself! In fact Numbers 12:3 declares, “Moses was very meek – more than all people who were on the face of the earth!”
But God heard their unjust criticism, and it angered Him! … And God defended Moses! “The Lord came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the tent of meeting” and He summoned Aaron and Miriam to come forward! He confronted them and defended Moses (read it for yourself in Numbers 12:6-8) He said, “Why were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”
The Bible says, “The anger of the Lord was kindled against them, and He departed… When the cloud removed from over the “Tent of Meeting,” behold, Miriam was leprous, like snow!” Aaron acknowledged their sin and plead with Moses for intercession! And “Moses cried to the Lord, ‘O God, please heal her – PLEASE!’” And the Lord did heal her.
So just a word of caution… We need to be careful in our criticism of spiritual leaders! Our attitudes can be more poisonous and lethal than their perceived weaknesses and errors! In fact, our criticism may simply be a coverup for jealousy and envy. And if this account in Scripture teaches anything, it is that God is not afraid to defend His devoted servants (even imperfect ones)!
Believe me, Intercessory prayer is a much better approach! And one more word of caution… Guard your heart – keep watch over your attitudes. Oh Lord, I want to live that way!!!