I received an interesting comment responding to one of my latest posts. And I feel compelled to address it.
I want to thank you for your response and the transparency that you were willing to share with me. I can hear the hurt and frustration that you are living with.
As to the specific allegations, I won’t speculate on them for a number of reasons.
1. I have no knowledge of the situation at your church (and neither do most of us).
2. We have only heard one side of this situation (There are always at least two and we have no way of knowing how information is accurate. The possibility exists that there are more facts then we are aware of at this point).
3. Scripture tells us not accept an accusations against an elder except there be two or three witnesses (1 Tim 5:19).
4. I don’t want to create controversy or gossip (2 Cor. 12:20).
Since I cannot be a part of the solution I won’t be a part of the problem.
I will simply say that I have known many good leaders and they are still human. So we need to all pray for our leaders and remember that we have a Leader who will never fail us or disappoint us. So keep your eyes focused on Him!
I’d like to address in general the concerns that Anonymous brought up.
Obviously Anonymous you are hurting regarding the situation.
I understand your frustration and anger. I’ve experienced similar feelings myself from time to time.
None of us are happy when we feel that an injustice has been done to family, our friends, or us. If this is your situation, I am so sorry that you are experiencing what appears to be a difficult season in your life. Those of us who have lived the Christian life for any length of time know that life is not always fair. God never promised that following Christ would be easy or fair. The Apostle Paul at times suffered because of other believers and Jesus told us that we should expect no better treatment then He received while He was here on earth. 2 Tim 4 also tells us that some men’s sin precedes them to the judgment and some follow after them.
I’d like to offer several thoughts to help you as you work through this situation:
1. Ultimately God is in control. (If it was God’s will to have a different under-shepherd in any local community He could easily replace them)
2. Each of us serves at the pleasure of our King and occasionally he chooses to move us (Sometimes we’re just a little slow in understanding His leading. I’ve had the proverbial two by four smack me upside the head because I failed to follow God’s leading when He wanted me to move to a new ministry).
3. God has a plan and his plan revolves around the advancement of His kingdom and glory
God’s desire is for each of us to mature and at times this means that we grow through times of deep spiritual pain and grief.
4. God works things out for our good. (Just remember that often our definition of good and God’s definition differ.)
5. God promises to provide for all of our needs.
Now I know that these thoughts are easy to say, harder to hold close. Yes there have been times when I have railed against what I perceive as the injustice of serving our King. And then I’m reminded that it’s not about me and it’s not about my idea of justice. (I’m reminded that often God’s thoughts and ways don’t jive with mine) As we grow in Christian maturity we learn to accept God’s plan for our lives.
The probability is that the situation that you wrote about did not happen to you personally. And that brings up another set of issues.
God’s desire is for believers to live in harmony and unity. You see, when someone has wronged us or we have wronged them, God provided steps for us to bring about reconciliation and restoration for the parties involved.
But when we are not the injured or injuring party we have not really been harmed. When we become involved and choose sides we are taking up someone else’s offense. God does not provide teaching on how to be reconciled when we are not involved in the situation. We are stuck with feeling and no way to resolve them. We are forced to abandon our feelings, which is a very difficult thing to do. The ancient poet of Israel speaks to this very issue in Psalm 15. The ancient Rabbis believed that each verse was like a multifaceted gem and must be looked at all sides to fully see what the verse is telling us. Verse 3 in this Psalm can also be read to not take up someone else’s cause.
A final series of comments needs to be addressed to those of us in spiritual leadership. We are called to be servant leaders to emulate our Great Shepherd. Often it seems that we fail miserably to think as servants to the entire body (this includes staff members, too).
To often we have seen pastors deal with issues in a non-servant way. Remember we are called to the service of the basin and towel.
When we make decisions we need to remember that these decisions affect the entire body. After all when any part of the body hurts the entire body is affected. It is necessary to speak the truth and address painful issues with as much discretion as possible to limit the pain to the body but with as much transparency to help the body to heal.
May God grant you peace and the strength to stay under this testing that God is using you to conform you to His Son’s image.