Almost every day a new person, someone I have never met or corresponded with, writes me an email in response to my blogs or one of my books. I do my best to answer such writers if the tone and spirit of their correspondence is gracious and invites a thoughtful reply. The only exception is when a person simply wants to trash me personally and or attacks my work in a way that offers me no real room for cordial conversation. In such a case I will usually provide a short answer that expresses my inability to respond to such a letter since there is no room for dialog and mutual respect. I desire dialog and mutual respect and always offer the same back wherever I can.
Harshly negative responses once deeply troubled me. I still struggle with this kind of criticism. It leaves me feeling fragile and defenseless. It is humiliating. I was too sensitive while I was a pastor, and I have had a hard time dealing with the same kind of thing over the last nineteen years as the president of ACT3 and as a published author. Everyone who teaches and writes invites criticism. I expect it. What I did not but have finally come to expect sadly, is the angry person who simply wants to tell me off or makes a “case” for why my life and ministry is a disaster. I recall the late Vance Havner saying that every minister needed “the heart of a saint and the hide of a rhinoceros.” I am quite sure I have neither in abundance but I will press on praying for them both till my numbered days are finished.
A few days ago I receive a very interesting email regarding my posts last year on the late Keith Green. While I never knew Keith I loved him and feel he was, as I said at the time, the “real deal.” He made more than a few mistakes but they were made because he was young and filled with real zeal. Such zeal frightens folks, but some people need to be frightened now and then. Lethargy grips far too many of God’s people, and the church will never be bold and obedient until the prophets are heard. Keith was a prophetic voice. But he was more, as I noted in my articles. My “new” friend wrote the following to me (slightly edited by me):
I have to admit that I had not heard of you until recently. For this I am sorry. I just came upon a couple of articles you have on your blog site about