Monday, March 27, 2006

What a friend we have in Jesus

I've recently been struggling with a situation. In my church, there was a man that was making me uncomfortable because I felt he was being very inappropriate with me. Raised in a strict household that did not allow you to tell a fellow church member that they were wrong, I stubbornly refused to think for myself. I didn't want to go to church anymore, despite the fact that I was absolutely craving spiritual food and fellowship. I love my church, but I couldn't stand to be there any more.
So I left.
I sent my pastor a letter explaining that I was horribly over-reacting to what was probably nothing, but that I was uncomfortable and didn't want to be there any more.
My pastor is a good man, and a very loving but firm leader I'm learning. He called a week later and asked me to let him deal with the situation, and to just hold on until I heard from him again.
I won't tell you how everything has ended up just yet, as a lot of things are still up in the air. But I just wanted to share this story with whoever reads this, because I learned a valuable lesson.
Sometime Sunday night, at a different church, I heard a sermon on peace and unity. And it's hard for me to describe why, but that is what finally broke through the chaos, and confusion in my mind. I was deathly afraid to approach this man and say STOP, because if it offended him or his wife, they might get mad and they'd been at the church longer than me and yadda yadda yadda blah blah blah.
Breaking through that chaos was wonderful, but it made me somber and very ashamed of the way I handled things. The situation was mine to handle, not my pastors. But unfortunately, I was too caught up in my emotions and my past and how other people had told me to handle the situation... all my advisers told me things to do but then said "It's up to you". While that was kind of them, and I know what they meant, I wish now someone had had the sense to say that it wasn't up to me, it was up to God. The bible instructs me on what to do if you feel there is a brother in error, and that's exactly what happened. I was just too busy running scared to think of it.
There's a lot more to the story, maybe just my telling you the story without all the extra facts attached to it will hurt my credibility with you, I don't know. I half expected my pastor to be angry with even the insinuation that someone in the church would be inappropriate. But, the reason I wanted to share this... there are a thousand and one reasons as to why you should feel confused, and scared, and worried about the out come of things. Even more reasons to run away and hide somewhere when life gets tough. But, in those moments, try try try to remember that God is in control. That He's not the author of confusion, and that He's promised PEACE to His believers. Turn to Him and just tell Him your fears. Praying is a simple conversation with your Father. Tell Him your worries and your cares, He's listening and He knows how to handle this - whatever your 'this' may be.

Are we weak and heavy laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Saviour, still our refuge;
Take it to the Lord in prayer:
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer;
In His arms He'll take and shield thee;
Thou wilt find a solace there.


J. W. Poteet II said...

---Not sure how to approach this.--
Are you saying that the appropriate solution was to confront the man? Or are you saying that you should have just prayed about it and let God deal with it? I have an issue I feel I should bring up to my pastor and don't know for sure if I should just shut up and let him be the pastor or take my concerns to him. My general behavior pattern is to not cause trouble no matter what, but I also have the ongoing feeling that someone ought to do something and since no one around me ever seems to it's up to me. So I wonder what the right thing to do is? Also, why are christians so stupid??? All a con man has to do is act like he's doing it at God's behest and everyone falls for it! Way off topic, sorry.

flyawaynet said...

In my circumstance:
"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
This scripture applies, because the man was literally sinning against me. I got so caught up in the 'me' aspect, that I forgot that this man *if he is saved* was walking away from his salvation.

I don't know the situation you're talking about, so I can only say this. If you're coming against someone why aren't you going to the person himself? The hardest part of going against someone is putting ourselves aside. I cannot judge a mans heart, I can only judge his actions. Be careful if you call someone a con-man, especially in church because you rarely know the real reasons why a person is doing what they're doing. I'm not saying you're wrong to call him a con man, I'm just saying "Be Careful".
Last but not least, I know that you and I were BOTH raised to not cause trouble no matter what, but that isn't a Godly principle. Paul asks us to live in peace as much as lies within us, but he also tells us how to discipline. So, to everything there is a season.
The best part of what I can tell you, and it's a relief just to be able to say it... trust your pastor . He is wise and may know and sense things you don't just because of his position and his annointing. Talk to him but make it clear you're not here to slander someone, to gossip about someone, but that you have serious concerns about this issue.
By now, I honestly feel I've said too much on the issue. So I'm going to try and lighten it up some...
You asked why Christians are so stupid; a pastor once added into his sermon that Christ often referred to His followers as sheep. He then asked if you had ever really looked at sheep. He described the attitudes of sheep as being the most unfaithful, unloyal, easily distracted, wandering into dangers foolishly, dirty, smelly, and generally hard to teach. It's no wonder Christ called us sheep. :)