The term “RED” which we are using is purely fictional; I made it up. But, believe me, the club/ group/team which it represents is real, composed of people who are very much alive and active.

“RED” is the short form of “Run Everybody Down.” Are you a member of that club? Do you make it your ambition in life to find fault with every fellow Christian and every activity of the local church?

Most congregations have such people. Some of these RED Club members are quite elderly, while others are middle-aged and some are still in their youth. Some are males; some are females. Some are extroverts, while others are introverts. Some hop from one congregation to another; others stay at the same local church. This club’s membership is open to all! That is the way Satan wants it. When it comes to the number of people in the RED Club, as the devil sees it, the more the merrier. The apostle Paul wrote that we are not ignorant of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11). It seems clear that “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4) is the CEO of the RED Club, which has to be one of his more successful devices. Why would he disband the RED Club when it is causing such havoc and heartache?!

Whom do the RED Club members badmouth? The list would be much shorter if we would try to identify those about whom they do not “go off!” You name the person or group of people, and they can find a way to be critical of them. And, they rarely are bashful about sharing their strongly-held opinions. They can be unmerciful with the song leader(s). Ditto with those brothers who lead prayers. What about those who teach a class or preach a sermon? They run those brothers down, too. Do they find a way to run down the elders and deacons? Those are some of their favorite targets for criticism. What about evangelists, do they go off about them as well? Of course. Who else is on the receiving end of their tirades and disdain? Small children, the parents of those children, teenagers, VBS-planners, bulletin-board decorators, announcement-makers, those who clean the church building, and, well, just about every other person or group of people whom you and I might name.

Some members of the Lord’s body are so skilled in criticizing that they surely must have earned a degree in Criticism from some educational institute. They are “pros” at running others down.

It pains me to acknowledge it, but it feels like some of God’s children never have anything good to say about anyone in the church . . . ever. I take that back: some of them might have a good word or two to say about those who are in their little clique.

Bible students are familiar with the fact that Paul rebuked Peter to his face (Galatians 2:11-14), Jesus publicly labeled scribes and Pharisees as being hypocrites (Matthew 23), Peter warned of false teachers and their cunning approach (2 Peter 2:1- 17), and those who preach God’s word are charged to convince, rebuke, and exhort (2 Timothy 4:2,5). Sin is serious stuff, causing separation from the God of heaven (Isaiah 59:1,2). It is horrible to think of people being separated from the Lord in this life. It is even more awful to think of their eternal separation from Him (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Unchecked immorality (1 Corinthians 5:1-7) and lukewarmness (Revelation 3:15-17) can corrupt an entire congregation. It is the plain duty of God’s saints to expose the unfruitful works of darkness (Ephesians 5:11).

There always is a need for God’s people to take a look inwardly to see how they are measuring up to His will (2 Corinthians 13:5). Are we failing to do something that the Lord instructs us to do? Are there areas in which we need to put forth a greater effort? Do we need to consider changing our method of carrying out a particular activity in order to be more effective? Should we put more focus on training workers in certain areas? Self-evaluation has the potential to be a healthy thing. However, constant bashing, badmouthing, and running down everything and everyone are neither healthy nor fruitful.

If you are a RED Club member, please give this a try. Look around. Look around at the good being done in your congregation. You might be surprised how much good stuff there is for which you could thank the God of heaven. Where I am a member, despite our flaws, we have a great work being done with Bible correspondence courses. We have men of blameless character shepherding the flock. We have edifying training classes each week. We have compassionate saints helping the lost, helping one another, and helping the needy. We have dedicated Bible class teachers. We have deacons who are ready to serve on demand. If you are trying to sell the idea that “Nobody is doing anything, everyone is dead, and except for me and my tight, little clique, the church is pretty much made up of uncommitted, untalented dead weights,” then you need to peddle your propaganda elsewhere because we are not buying or tolerating it here.

To the dedicated members of the Run Everybody Down Club, we ask, “Where is the mercy?” Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy” (James 2:13).

— Roger D. Campbell