Friday, April 21, 2017

When Church Leaders are the Enemy of God

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Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show his works by a good life in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 Wisdom of this kind does not come down from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity.
James 3:13-17(NASB)

I get calls from church members quite often, sometimes they just want someone to pray with them, and sometimes in their voice I can tell they just need someone to encourage them in God's Word. But occasionally they call to tell me about someone in the church that hurt them, seldom is it a physical hurt, most of the time it is a failure on the part of church leaders to encourage in their time of need.

Whenever I get that last type of call I wait on God to give me the right word for them, even while my ear is still on the phone listening to their dilemma, I am in prayer, asking God to use me as a conduit so that they may receive the message that He has for them. Sometimes by the works of the Holy Spirit wisdom abounds, sometimes no word at all is given to me and I know my task is that of a sounding board, or listening ear. Whatever the case, it is the Spirit of God which dictates my response.

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Today we find members of the Body of Christ in constant conflict with one another, choir member against other choir members, prideful and controlling people whose would rather point at the splinter in your eye then pull the log from their own. Someone can't get alone with Miss Green "Because she is just too bossy" or "Deacon Jones thinks he's in control." All of these are common place even though Jesus said "All men will know you are my disciple if you love one another." Of course babes in Christ will make mistakes, but what about those that have been in Christ for years, those appointed to the office of deacon, elder or pastor? What do we do when the conflict point at a leader? More importantly, what should a leader do to avoid him or her being the origin of member's suffering?

There is nothing more unsettling then to have to apologize for another leader's carnal handling of a member. And most of the time it is with those members that are newest in their walk with Christ, those members that we should handle with the most care and love. Those members that are looking to find Christ in our behaviors, it is in the presence of the one we should be on our best behavior that we so outwardly fail.

It may be nearly impossible to walk this walk with Christ and never have conflict with another member or someone not in the faith. Sometimes for the right reasons we are persuaded by scripture to hand someone over to Satan (though never are we to bar them from the church) 1Corinthians 5:4-5 fellowships. However, as leaders we have to be more conscience in how we carry the banner of Christ in all parts of our life. If our attitudes and behaviors are chasing away God's flock, then we are antagonistic to the building of God's kingdom. We are as the Bible says an enmity against God!  Even in our ministry. This may seem harsh but we can't march under the blood stain banner of Christ one minute, and be harsh and mean toward a brother or sister the next. 

The knowledge of Scripture is never a tool to bash, embarrass or control another person, whether they are in Christ or not. Sound ministering of church members, and people in general must be a 24 hour a day, 7 days per week, 52 weeks and 365 days a year walk. To say “God made me this way” is not an excuse to disrespect people even if we are giving them this “truth out of love” it’s an embarrassment to the individual (speaking) the church he represents, and an indictment of the God he professes. God is no more responsible for your sin then He is your ability to fly. You are a sinner because of your fallen nature, and you came to Christ take on a new nature.  
2 Corinthians 5:17; “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come”
If then you are a new creature in Christ you must let go behaviors of the old thing you once were.
Romans 15:14; “And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.”

When a church leader is the origin of the complaint we must take this cry for help very seriously, we have at jeopardy the character of the leader, and the salvation of the member, neither of which should be fractured because of carnal thinking on the part of one or both of them. God has given leaders that they may guide those that are not quite mature in their spiritual walk with Christ. A leader is tasked with giving the Word of God in its purest form while still encouraging and being non-judgmental, without compromising the truth of the scripture.

When ministering to the flock, the main goal of the leader should not be the correction of an individual's problem, nor to point finger as to who's the blame, nor should the leader use his position to pass judgment, the main goal of the church leader is the salvation and Christian walk with Christ. With that mindset a leader can with spiritual discernment (wisdom) of what is the deeper problem the individual is dealing with, and knowledge of the scriptures (training),  and an ear toward God (Holy Spirit inspired) can provide the encouragement to deal with and grow beyond the members problems. 
James 3:17; But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy”

However, when the leader is not led by the Spirit, he will allow his knowledge of the individual or their situation skews sound judgment. And any advice given will not be grounded in Spirit and will be is carnal and evil, it makes no difference if the advice is given with good intentions or not.
"I said what I said out of love” is never the right answer when dealing with the fragile heart of a new member in need. We should never have to apologies for our actions or the way we speak to a member, because our actions and the way we speak to them must be godly, peaceable, loving, easily entreated (received) and full of mercy.

Too often I have seen members leave the church (my own family included) and some eventually leave their walk with Christ because they were hurt either emotionally, physically or spiritually by a leader in the Church. Some leaders justify members leaving by saying “God is weeding out the wheat from the tarries”, but this is the propaganda of the devil and a reflection of the leader's irresponsible and prideful behavior.  
James 3:14: “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth” 

If we are speaking harshly to our members we lack love, and are lying when we say we love them. If we spoke it with our mouths we thought it with our hearts (Matthew 12:34)
Impatience, being judgmental and prideful behaviors are sins which imprisons as many leaders in the Body of Christ, as murder, robbery and sexual perversion imprisons the general populace of any modern day correction facility. Leaders must always be alert to the seed that they allow to root in their heart, because every seed planted will always produce fruit of some kind (sometimes a peach, sometimes a cactus). The leader must constantly ask himself "Do I have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, humility, and self-control" (Galatians 5:22) This is especially true when dealing with difficult and new members. If the leader lacks any of these, then he must make corrections in his life immediately! Because the leader is accountable to not just his pastor or earthly leaders, but also to God for his salvation, and the perfecting of the saints in the Body of Christ.

Your brother in Christ

If you are kind enough to read this post, please leave a comment, give your opinion challenge my thoughts , or just give a thumbs up. Let me know that you have read this and that what I'm writing is not a waste of time. 
However,  if you really like it,  or if you really hate it!
Please tell a friend