By Brian Saylor
Written from over 30 years of ministry experience and observation.
An individual doesn’t take responsibility for their hurts/wounds, behavior and gets “offended” by the one holding him/her accountable, passively allowing time to go by. (After Matt 18 meetings where the “truth was spoken in love” this individual feels “attacked” and “persecuted”), At this point either the person can “walk humbly” and take responsibility and receive what was “spoken in love” about their behavior or go to the one who has offended them and work for reconciliation.
James 4:13-18 13 If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.
If a person does not handle the “issue” according to Gods’ way to reconcile but chooses “their own way” (pride and self righteousness), they allow resentments and bitterness to develop and begin sharing with “friends” how mean the pastor is and they have been “verbally abused” so others may be “praying”. This is where a person may begin to play “victim” and begin to manipulate facts about the situation in “their favor” to get what “they want”.
James 4: 1-2 Where do you think all these appalling quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don’t have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn’t yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it. 2-3You wouldn’t think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you’d be asking for what you have no right to. You’re spoiled children, each wanting your own way. 4-6 You’re cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way.
The “friends” take up the offense* and begin to gossip and slander. Having the “truth” they share with others, saying things like…”who put him in charge”…”they have too much control”…”let’s take our church back”…”we need to get to the bottom of this” or they just disappear from the church.
“Taking Up An Offense” Sharing our hurts and bitterness, and listening to others share theirs, is another area where we need to be very careful. If someone is rude to your best friend, and your friend shares their hurt with you, then you’re probably going to “take up the offense.” This means you get hurt too, maybe even angry at the person who caused your friend pain. Later, they might make up and all may be forgiven and forgotten. But there’s only one problem … you’re still bitter! And the next time you see the person who hurt your friend, you realize that you haven’t forgiven him. Unless you go right away and clear things up, you may carry around a subtle bitterness that comes to remembrance every time you see him or hear his name. Why? Because God did not give you the same amount of grace to forgive as He gave your friend. You were not the one offended. God gives grace to the humble and the afflicted (James 4:6), and you were neither. You just “happened” to become involved in something you shouldn’t have been told about in the first place. The strife that one small incident can cause can be far-reaching and long-lasting, depending on how many people hear about it. So you see, it is totally irresponsible to involve others in your hurts and judgments. As far as I can see, we have no right to go to anyone except God and the offender, unless we are really at a loss as to what we should do. And then we need to go for counseling, not to our “most favorite person to talk to.”
Find ways to get rid of the pastor according to the constitution, if not, see if he will resign, if not, then work outside God’s authority and plan to start a new church in secret. Actively calling, meeting and inviting people to the new church while still in attendance at your current church and spreading more gossip and slander, causing more division.
James 4:5-6 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
Hold a public meeting where you can publicly condemn the pastor and leadership, (why go in private and try to reconcile and honor God at this point) because we are “doing right” by taking our church back. Rationalize and justify we may not be doing everything “right” but look at what they have done!
There are so many of us we cannot only start a new church, we can shut down the old one…this is great! We will show them…God is on our side! Continue emailing, calling, and meeting with people from the old church to “build relationships”, inviting them to the new church…continuing to do the “Lord’s work”!
Hebrews 12:14-15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. 16 Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal.
Galatians 6:7-10 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. 9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.