Imagine for a moment a church service. The music is nice and makes you feel great. The announcements about potlucks and homeless ministries make you smile. You get warm fuzzies as the plate is passed and you carefully place a check into it. And then comes the much anticipated event: the Pastor takes the pulpit. He speaks, you feel twinges of discontent. Suddenly, the lovely parts of the service fade in your mind and the only thing you can think about is getting the heck out of the service, and away from that Pastor that made you feel...less than perfect.
What happens next? Do you stand around after church, chatting with friends and encouraging each other? Might you track down the pastor or make a mental note to email him and inform him with bullet points as to his errors? Do you go out to lunch with your family and discuss the service? Do you find another congregant that you "discuss" the pastor and how wrong he was, how ugly his tie was / scandalous his wife dressed / poorly behaved his children were?
The scenario before you is what a Pastor and his family deal with on a weekly basis. Sometimes, the critical thinking and approach are absolutely necessary. Most of the times, they can be done with far more grace and edification than the general church-going population bothers to take. Don't shoot the messenger, people!
I would like to challenge your thinking for a moment. Public speakers are just people, as are celebrities and politicians. In the new year, my challenge to you is to keep this truth in mind. When dishing out your opinions of public figures, consider for a moment that they were your family members. Consider for a moment that they have pains and baggage too. Have a little grace. After all, wouldn't you hope that you would shown mercy if the shoe was on the other foot?