This May Start to Get Old in a Few Years
It has been 2 weeks since I learned I was not welcome at the church I belonged to. It has been an interesting time.
There is now no doubt that I was not wanted. I haven’t heard a peep from any of the pastors. I still can’t see the head pastor’s Facebook page.
I got a call from a buddy who is a minister (a level or two below pastors), but I would have heard from him anyway. He was a friend before I started attending that church, and I’ll still hear from him when he’s attached to a new organization.
I tried sending the pastors an electronic message a while back. I believe that was after I quit as a volunteer but before they blocked me on Facebook. I am not sure. Anyway, I could not get it to go through.
Later on, I realized it wasn’t my job to chase them. I’m older than they are, and they were very disrespectful to me several times in public. Older people are generally not supposed to run around after younger people, trying to get their forgiveness. It sets a poor example. It may be okay to do that once or twice, but eventually you start sending a message that it’s okay to be nasty to older people.
The Bible says to go to people who have something against you, but that is not a law. The Spirit-led do not have laws to follow. It’s a general guideline which will usually line up with the Holy Spirit. I was pulled out of the church by the hand of God, and I am not supposed to screw that up by going back in a carnal way and trying to fix something that should stay broken. This was a rescue.
I have a young friend who comes by for prayer sessions, and apparently there was a shocking verbal altercation between him and the head pastor. It happened in the parking lot. Someone actually called me so I could intervene. She was concerned the police might show up. She said she became aware there was a serious problem because the pastor started screaming. He’s about 20 years older than the young man he was talking to.
He drew inappropriately close, and my friend threatened to defend himself, in no uncertain terms.
When things calmed down, there was forgiveness and love and prayer and the whole nine yards, but you can’t unring a bell. There will be consequences.
My friend says he regrets using bad language and losing his temper. He takes responsibility for that and says it was wrong.
Is this gossip? Well…can you say something was private after you chose to do it in the open air in front of a large group of people? If you go to church to speak to the public, and you’re happy when they know about the things you say that make you look good, you probably shouldn’t complain if the crazy things you say are also heard.
This friend had a great revelation the other day, and he shared it with me. Whether a bad experience is a test or a punishment depends on your attitude. If you’re proud and you refuse to learn whatever it is God is teaching you, then it’s just punishment, and it won’t do you any good.
This is a problem for a preacher who is too proud to admit fault.
The argument could be a big blessing to him. He could tell the church, “I lost my temper and behaved childishly. I have a problem with self-control and pride, and if you have the same problem, you need to work on it. We need to get God to help us fix ourselves.” That would please God and get him involved in recovery.
On the other hand, if he and his wife decide the problem is with my young friend, God won’t help them. He will fight them. Word of what happened is surely moving through the church, and while it won’t affect the sycophants, it will poison other people against the leadership. If people who have a little discernment or common sense don’t see proper steps taken, they will probably take steps of their own, through the doors of other churches.
I don’t expect them to bend. I get no indication of that from God. The little I know about their response to the situation is not encouraging.
I think this whole mess was from God. I don’t think he tells people to get in silly fights, but he definitely uses them. He did that in the Bible.
I wasn’t going to get into all of that today. What I started to say was that I was disappointed to hear that the argument was partly about me; the person the pastors don’t talk to.
I am not their problem. I’m a symptom.
If you have time to make a fool of yourself over me in a parking lot, you should have time to involve me in the matter at some point. If you have time to bother other people or send other people to talk to me, you should have time to deal with me personally. Or you should move on and let it go.
This happened at Trinity Church, too. They had secret meetings about me, and of course I was told later, because you can’t keep things quiet in a church. I will give Rich Wilkerson credit; for all his shortcomings, he did communicate with me before I left. But he should not have bothered other people about me once I was gone.
The application to my own life is that I am aware that my problems are messages from God. Whether or not he is directly causing the evil I experience, he at least consents to it. It’s not random. He limits and steers things to achieve a purpose. I can’t complain about my suffering if I cause it by refusing to listen.
You can say it’s not my fault. You can say human beings don’t know what God is saying. That’s an excuse. For almost thirty years, I’ve known I was supposed to be praying in tongues every day. That would have helped me hear his voice and fix my problems. There is no way to evade responsibility.
The curses in our lives often reflect curses we put on God. This was true in Eden, and it’s true now. Adam and Eve made God’s life difficult, so he did the same thing to them. Adam refused to submit, so God made wives rebellious. Adam made it hard for God to give birth to new children, so God made childbirth difficult. Adam gave rise to a race of rebels, so God made the earth bring forth weeds and briars.
The things I hate about my life, and which I have still not overcome, must be connected to my failings in some way.
That’s wonderful information to have. It can help me receive healing, deliverance, victory, and peace. It can help me become like God in my heart.
If I’m blessed, as the grinning TV preachers say, why do I still have problems? How can I be overweight, lazy, lustful, fearful, impulsive, disorderly and so on? Maybe I don’t have major problems in all these areas, but I am not what I should be. I’m not even remarkable by ordinary human standards. Is this really how God wants me to be?
I should have more self-control. I should be cleaner inside. It’s not much to ask of me.
It’s very bad that people I know are failing. It’s unfortunate that I have to back off because I can’t help them. But it’s very good that I can learn from their failures.
I keep finding that I have more and more authority over myself. That’s powerful, because most of our problems are self-inflicted. We can’t control ourselves, and control over yourself is where power over everything else starts.
If I am willing to continue confronting my flaws and attacking them with God’s help, I can become stronger and better inside. That will cause my outward circumstances to improve, and it will humiliate those who seek to harm me.
As for my friend, his time at the church is over. He and the pastor have forgiven each other, but you know how that works. There are some breaks you can’t fix, even with genuine forgiveness. Sometimes a person’s behavior tells you that even if you forgive that person, he is not someone you can tolerate in your inner circle.
I am enjoying the rest from church. God is showing me I need to examine pastors carefully and brutally in the future. I should ask them provocative questions and walk away if they bristle or close up. “How much is your salary?” “How much money does the church take in every week?” “Is your wife well-behaved?” “Do you pray in tongues every day?” If they’re offended, they’re too big for their britches. I don’t accept that kind of people any more.
If you would not want a pastor as a friend, do not accept him as a pastor. If he is a pain in the behind, if he is childish, if he has to be babied, if he is spoiled, if he is selfish…stay away. I don’t care if he raises the dead. He will mess you up.
I don’t know what I’ll do on Sunday. I am not worried about it. Maybe God will extend my rest another month. That would be wonderful.