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Archive for May, 2012

Is there anything more disheartening than when someone in ministry loses their focus and goes down a wrong path?  I don’t mean they completely turn away from God.  That would be much more than disheartening.  I’m talking about the ones who forget Who is in charge and begin to operate under their own power and not His.  Invariably, as part of their new plan, they are driven to destroy what they left behind.

As Christian we want to look up to our pastoral teams and our ministry leaders.  We want to hang our hat on the security that they are solid and will always be.  But often we are disappointed, even shocked, to find them flawed.  Under the power of God’s hand their ministry is amazing.  But when they step out and begin to do things under their own power, trying to convince people it is still God in charge, the power manifests itself in the great damage that they do.

How should we react?  What should we do to assure that the least amount of damage is done and the fewest number of people are hurt?  God gives us specific instruction.

Ephesians 4:29-32  tells us “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Wait a minute!  That instruction is for them not us, right?  After all – they are the ones out there trashing our good name and planting seeds of destruction with their bitterness and anger.  Where’s the instruction for the ones wounded by their weapons?

For the answer to that question, go back to paragraph four.  Harming because you’ve been harmed is never God’s plan.  Retaliation bitterness, pay back rage, defensive anger – sorry, not justified either. 

If the Christ who died for us can say from the cross, “Father, forgive them” how can we not do the same? 

Our job is to pray for their angry and misguided hearts, to speak words of encouragement to others so they are not harmed, and to let the Holy Spirit work on the mess created.  Our job is to be the Christian others can look up to.  Our job is to be bold in standing up for what is right but at the same time be compassionate for the one who is being manipulated by the devil into thinking he or she is right. We can only do this if we turn away from flawed earthly examples and “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.”  Hebrews 12:2

Lord, help me to remember.

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