DON’T USE NO DOUBLE NEGATIVES!
T. Pierce Brown
It is a source of constant amazement to read the writings and hear the speeches of those who seem to have such great spiritual insight in some areas, and yet whose language in those writings or speeches is almost always self-contradictory.
For example, we continually read statements that sound like this: “This wretched, ungodly, name-calling by some hypocritical, mote-hunting, ultra-conservative, judgmental, so-called Christians is completely foreign to the spirit of Christ.” Perhaps if we write or speak that way, Paul’s statement in Romans 2:1 should be carefully considered. It reads, “Wherefore thou art without excuse, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest dost practice the same thing.” Perhaps the proverb, “The legs of the lame are not equal” (Pro. 26:7) has some kind of application here.
Did you ever read statements like this: “They are always speaking in generalities. They seek character assassination by baseless charges and innuendoes which they never specify.” Who “they” are, and what baseless charges “they” make against whom we never know. A man’s character is what he makes it. No other person can harm your character. And no other person can even harm your reputation very much if he does not even specify who you are.
What about this sort of interesting conclusion: “Because of my deep love for the brotherhood and the cause of Christ, I am forced to point out one of our greatest faults. It is that we seem to rejoice in pointing out faults, always hiding our faultfinding under the guise of love. Each of us is so full of faults that none of us should ever point out any error in any brother, as Jesus plainly teaches in Matthew 7:3-5. Love covers a multitude of sins, and anyone with true Christian love will always say only that which is good, as Paul says in Phil. 4:8. So, instead of finding fault with anything in the brotherhood, we should love the brotherhood (1 Peter2:17).”
Of course all of us know (many from personal experience!) that it is possible to be self-righteous, hypercritical, hypocritical, and act like a buzzard, on the lookout primarily for the putrid and rotten. But it would be humorous, if not pathetic, that apparently intelligent and spiritual minded brethren can seriously write or read things like the above paragraph and see nothing wrong with it. When they find fault with the brotherhood at large, elderships in general, and preachers in particular it proves that they have a loving, Christlike attitude, but if anyone else points out any destructive or erroneous teaching, or wrong direction or emphasis, it is unloving, unmerciful and unkind!
The truth of the matter is that if you love me and see me about to walk into what you think is a nest of rattlesnakes, you should try to warn me as gently as possible, consistent with the danger. But if your whispered suggestion, “There may be rattlesnakes around” is disregarded, it may be that you need to lasso me around the neck with a rope and jerk me back! That may be what Jude had in mind in Jude 23 when he mentions “and some save, snatching them out of the fire.”
The fact that some brethren might seem to get pleasure in shooting me in the back claiming that they were trying to protect me from the rattlesnakes does not change the fact that we need brethren who love us enough to point out our faults. Even the brethren who find fault with brethren for finding fault have done us a service if they thus make us examine more carefully our motives and methods, as well as our emphasis.