I once had a Bible college professor with the reputation of always finding something good to say about the chapel message no matter how bad the message. Following one service in which the speaker got in way over his head and his message was less than “stellar” a student asked the professor what he thought of the message. It was obvious not even he could redeem such a failed effort.
After being asked, “So Doc, what good can you say about that message?” he responded, “I’m certainly happy I did not bring it.”
Like every churchgoer C. S. Lewis heard his share of bad messages. In a letter to Mary Van Deusen (Dec. 28, 1953), he found something good to say about them:
“I think someone ought to write a book on ‘Christian life for Laymen under a bad Parish Priest’ for the problem is bound to occur in the best churches. The motto would be of course Herbert’s lines about the sermon ‘If all lacks sense, God takes a text and preaches patience.'”1
It’s easy to be critical. It takes maturity to be gracious.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23.
1. Walter Hooper, ed., The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963, Vol. III (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007), 397.