Pastor's Blog

Remember the prayer of Jabez, which was such a hot item a few years ago? Everyone wanted to pray that prayer. That God's hand would be with them and that their borders would be increased. Even that God would use them. There's that one small and challenging phrase at the end though, which poses a problem: "That I might not cause pain."

I wonder whether it is possible to be in Christian ministry and not cause pain.

It seems there are an increasing number of people who have come to the end of their church experience. You hear the phrase, "I don't believe in organized religion...." As though there is some alternative - "disorganized religion" maybe? What people often mean is that they don't want anything to do with church, because they tried it, and it didn't work out for them. Not surprising. So many churches are like empty husks, there's no life and no fruit on the inside.

Many people have been hurt in church - sometimes leaders have done it to them. I'm sorry about that, because Jesus has been misrepresented and the wounding people have received has now separated them from the fellowship of the saints and the life in Christ which they could enjoy. Shepherds, by the very definition of the word, are a good thing. They are the ones who look after the well being of the flock.

Perhaps a line is crossed when people begin to idolize the leader, and put too much of their God-given faith in a man, instead of in the God who saves. There are natural relationships with leaders in the church and there are unnatural and unhealthy relationships too. We all get to decide which kind we will participate in.

Then there are relationships between the people who attend a church. People who 'rub each other the wrong way' and cause pain. The Biblical answer is forgiveness. We should love one another, because love comes from God. Love covers a multitude of sins, but you have to let it. This kind of love and forgiveness goes above and beyond the actions which cause pain in the first place.

You can cause pain and ask forgiveness. You can be hurt and give forgiveness. This is healthy living.

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