Thursday, November 13, 2014

Stop Shooting the Messenger!

Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
Galatians 4:16

As a Christian leader, it's very difficult to deal with the prideful spirit of entitlement that so many carry today.  Constantly, I'm asked how people can draw closer to God... how they can grow spiritually... how they can hear from the Father.  Well, the answer has always been the same.  Like any relationship, one with God requires commitment.  His word commands that we study and meditate on Scripture, spend time with Him in prayer and worship, and fellowship with believers.  Without faith, it's impossible to please Him, and we demonstrate our love for Him by following His commandments.

Yet, just like the slow people in the drive-through at McDonald's, it's as if people are always looking for a different answer... a short cut.  Just like the McDonald's menu, God's word, and His requirements, have been the same since the beginning.  Our lack of desire to discipline ourselves, submit and be accountable will not change His mind.

As the messenger (and that is truly all that I am), I am often the recipient of the anger, bitterness, ridicule and frustration that comes from people who simply don't want to hear the truth.  While I'm not surprised, it does often hurt.  It is very difficult not to take it personal.  It hurts because I truly love people and have a desire to see them grow.  Unfortunately, many choose not to see the same.  Instead, they'd rather compare me to the last leader they had or "just another Christian" who's all about money and trying to make spiritual things diffiult for others.  Why does it have to be that way?  Am I (or any other person) not entitled to being judged by my own fruit or the investments I make in people prior to their point of offense?  Does my being a pastor or leader negate that I too am a person with feelings... an individual desiring love and respect?  Let's remember, we are ALL people, and we must treat one another as we desire to be treated, regardless of one's "position" in the church.

The Kingdom of God, in one sense, is likened unto a bank account.  If we don't make deposits, there will be nothing to withdraw.  There are no exceptions and no excuses!  We can't expect God to meet our every need yet refuse to do what's necessary to maintain those healthy relationships.  In the same manner, it's unfair to expect our brothers and sisters in Christ, including our spiritual leaders, to consistently be available, share advice, and nurse our wounds when we refuse to heed their advise, wisdom and counsel.

Love is full of truth.  At the end of the day, our hunger for God and knowing the fullness of Him will not cause us to become angry just because we hear, yet again, what we know to be the truth.  We should learn to stop making excuses and just obey God.  It works.  If something is not working, that's not the leader's fault by default, especially if they are preaching, teaching and demonstrating the truth.  We need to look inwardly as well to see where we, personally, have missed with God.

1 Timothy 4:2-4 warns us of this very thing:
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

These times are upon us.  Some people just want things their way.  Whether it's truth or a lie, they want to hear what they want to hear.  They want to be in control, and they will always find fault in the very ones seeking to help them... because it's easier than admitting fault within themselves.

I am praying for so many, and humbly pray God will even keep my own heart from turning that way.  I'm saddened, hurt and disappointed.  There are few things worse than seeing the potential in someone who cannot see it in themselves.  It's very difficult to love those who refuse to accept your love, or even believe it exists.  It's heartbreaking to watch people turn against you just to run to those that mean them no good, yet tell them what they want to hear.

My prayer is that people will see another side of their personal frustration... to understand it's NOT ABOUT US.  This is bigger than any one individual, including myself.  Not everyone is out to "get you."  God loves us so much that He has strategically placed others in our lives to help us draw closer to Him.  We just need to stop biting the proverbial hand that feeds us.  

I want to encourage not only leaders, but all believers experiencing this type of frustration.  After all, EVERY believer is a minister of Christ with the responsibility to share the Gospel.  There are souls at stake... hold on!  Don't you dare give up.  It's worth the fight!  Someone's soul may be dependent upon you pressing through one more disappointment.  Even if you never see the fruit, continue to plant the seeds God commands you to plant.

All in all, I am full of love and have compassion, but I REFUSE to change the message.  I also have a responsbility to please God, and no one's desire for a cover up is worth risking that.  Even if I die today, God's message remains the same.


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