Samaritan's Song

Recently, while reading a devotional, I paused when I stumbled over the following mandate: “Don’t be critical of your pastor or of those in political office.  It’s a sin.”

I have encountered this sentiment in several places over the years.  Pastors from the pulpits of churches I’ve attended have pleaded for congregations to be gentler and kinder to them in speech and in bearing.  Former pastors and leaders in Christian public life often advocate for those behind the pulpit, expressing the idea that laymen and laywomen can’t understand the difficulties of shepherding a flock.

Often, these discussions have a Scriptural basis, or at the very least a Scriptural beginning.  Along with the many Bible verses about the dangers of the tongue, of malice, and of foolish talk, they invoke verses like 1 Samuel 26:9 (“Who can lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed and be guiltless?”) and Romans 16:17 (“I…

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