I lost my peace last night. The reason? I started thinking about someone who was needing put right in their thinking about a matter of biblical truth, in my estimation: someone who I thought needed to listen to my “wisdom.” Maybe it is a besetting sin of pastors, the flip-side of our strength and gifting. It may be birthed in our desire to help, but an unguarded strength or gifting can become a weakness, indeed it can become destructive of the very good we intend.
Well, I woke up this morning, and saw the wrong in me for what it was. I have repented and peace is restored. There is maybe a lesson in that about when to “think” about things. Mulling over a peace destroying thought at night time is not the best idea. Things tend to look different in the morning especially if despite the troubling in our thoughts the night before, we have somehow managed to receive the gift of sleep. This morning, I did not feel any need to put the person right. I saw them for the unique person they are and felt pastoral hope and peace on their behalf. I do not need to make the remarks to them I had thought of saying, in order to “help” them!
However, that experience made me think back to a remark made to me on Facebook by someone a year or two ago, which was viciously judgemental and was made on the basis of presumptions about me by someone who knows me not one whit. They were out to put me right in the most ungracious terms. Well, as a pastor you have to develop a sensitive spirit skin allied to the skin of a rhinoceros , so the attack did not land ! However it made me think of the sorts of things that we often say to one another as believers on social media. My own bible readings today were all about the use of “the tongue.” I put the following on Facebook. I know many of you do not use Facebook, and you may be wise in that decision! However, here it is:
“One often reads such vicious verbal assaults on believers by believers on Facebook. It rarely comes in my direction but from time to time all of us will be victims or villains in such communications, or more accurately non-communications.
Listen: if I thought the same as you about all manner of things, that would not give you the opportunity to grow in the love of God fo me, nor give to me the opportunity to grow in the love of God for you. Humility would suffer as well, as would the potential to grow in truth and wisdom together.
Tuck that thought away in your spiritual quiver. Use it this day or any day when it might be the appropriate arrow to draw out and fit to your bow. Aim it in the direction of the mutual enemy of us all, draw the string back with all your God given strength and let it fly.”