I once pastured a church where a member was notorious for having conflict with the members. Strangely the church consisted in a large part of the very people who made up her own kinfolk. Naturally I learned about the woman after I got there. I learned of her just like I learned of the lie told by the pastor search committee about the number of youth at the church. Let’s just say the numbers were exaggerated. Partially because they included those in their early twenties as youth.
Back to the woman whose mission seemed to be starting conflict, strife and rifts in the church. It was only a matter of time before I became the object of her attacks. The revelation came in the form of a letter mailed to my home. As a pastor, I was warned of such maneuvers by various church members. After reading the accusatory defaming pages of assault and allegations came the question, how do I resolve this?
Prayer was spoken. Divine guidance was sought. I petitioned God. After a few days the visit was made to the ladies home. She greeted me at the door, invited me in and wasted no time spewing her vehement accusations as her husband sat in silence. I allowed her to exhaust herself. It took some time. She’d had plenty of practice.
Once done, I summoned a spirit of meekness and presented the reliable documentation to prove her wrong and myself in the right. She appeared to accept my evidence though I never got an apology or acknowledgement. What I did receive was something I’d never seen before nor since. She produced a record book!
This lady was so determined to be right, etc that she actually kept a record of being wrong! At least in her interpretation she had been wronged. She had lost upon list where people did her wrong. She wanted to flood me with her ocean of I’ll-will. I wasn’t interested in the details of the book. I spent my energies moving away from her book and into the Holy Book, the Bible.
I landed in 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 where the Bible reads, “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,”
Sharing the verses with her seemed to have little effect on her. I settled with knowing it wasn’t my place to cause a positive effect. That job is up to the Holy Spirit. I share the Word of God claiming His promise that it will not return void.
When people argue, they are in essence saying, “My way is the right way. If you don’t do it my way, I’ll make your life miserable.” The arguer insists on getting his or her own way.
I didn’t last long at this church. I wanted to invite people and grow. The majority of the leadership only wanted biological growth. It was their church and they wanted it kept that way.
I wanted everyone treated equally. They wanted to keep the two factions separated. The “B’s” and the “H’s” were the ruling sects. So serious was it that they would divide up the dinner on the grounds on two rows so one clan wouldn’t eat off the other and vice versa. They didn’t trust the others cooking. I ate from both as I figured they wouldn’t risk hurting their own kin.
I wasn’t the kind of pastor they wanted. They wanted a good ole boy preacher and friend. They were not interested in a pastor. I would dare say I was never allowed to be their pastor, only their preacher.
I miss a few of the good folks there. I ache for God to do a mighty work of grace in that church. Maybe He has.
Until next time,