September 2021, Vol. 39, No. 9

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Criticism and the Beehive

posted on September 8, 2021

[249 words]

It is said that someone reported to Abraham Lincoln that Edwin Stanton, one of the President’s cabinet members, had referred to him as a fool. Mr. Lincoln replied, “Well, I must check into that, for I have found that he is usually correct in his judgments.” 

This indicated President Lincoln’s great capacity to handle criticism. Instead of returning criticism for the insult, President Lincoln forgave Stanton. The end result is that Edwin Stanton became one of Lincoln’s closes allies. 

Isn’t it amazing how prone to criticism we human beings are? We can find an excuse or reason to gripe about almost anything! 

If you pick up a daily newspaper, you will read of multiple stories of unfair and often untrue criticism, and often outright slander. We see this harshness among nations, political parties, families, neighbors, etc.

In James chapter 4, we observe that James not only raises the question of what causes such conflict, but he answers the question, giving both the specific causes of the problem and the cure. 

The Cause, says James, is our conflicting desires—a result of selfishness. When we covet yet not get what we want, the result is unfair criticism, quarreling, bickering and fighting. 

The Cure, says James, is submitting to God and resisting the Devil. 

As Christian Gentlemen and Ladies, we need to remember this simple command: “Be ye kind to one another” (Eph. 4:32). 

Someone has said: “You catch more bees with honey than vinegar.” Criticism kicks the beehive over.

Larry Fitzgerald 
Woodlawn church of Christ
Abilene, TX

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