This Blog post may be rather long. It may read like I am venting a bit, and maybe I am. Or, maybe what is written below reflects the heart of God for His kids.
I am 50 years old and for over 20 years of ministry I still do not get it. Maybe it's part of my "call" to address, but right now and for many years it's really been just a huge point of frustration for me. I dont understand it, I do not like it, and I hope to Jesus that I am never deceived in this way again. Ever...
It almost cost me my life.
Jesus had much to say about forgiveness. In fact, the core of the New Covenant is completely absorbed in forgiveness. The problem we have in the church, (not that this is the only problem we have in the church) is that we want forgiveness without giving forgiveness. We want to be accepted without being accepting. We crave to be loved by others, without loving others. It's a sindemic (my word) to say the least.
But the biggest problem I am seeing is not in the pews, but au contraire, it's in the pulpits. And without a doubt, as many ministers will read this, many will ignore it as just a vent and not a warning. Pastor, you cannot continue to stay complicit with Satan's device of unforgiveness while at the same time experience God's best for you and your ministry. It just doesn't work that way. Your making the same mistake that Samson made, in that you don't realize that the Spirit of God has drawn back from your life and ministry and much of what you are doing is by the strength of your own arm, and not the arm of the Lord.
We all make mistakes. I wish that I had a dime for every mistake that I have made because I would love to be a very wealthy man. No one is immune to mistakes, mess ups, or even sin. No one is, and when you think that you'll never do what you read about someone else doing, you're at the very thresh hold of crossing over to do the very same thing.
Please forgive your brother. And, I don't mean that wimpy, milk toast forgiveness that the Body of Christ is known for. Go to them. Call them, allow them to come to you. Let's be the more mature ones. Do whatever it takes to have that face to face meeting and allow Him who promises to be in the midst of you to help get things right between you two, or three, or four....
Forgiveness without confrontation and representation is not forgiveness. It's cowardice and Satanic. It's Satan's way of planting and allowing a cancer to to grow and ultimately ruin a church. It's slow, deceptive, and will be the thing that keeps a move of God's presence from invading your (my) city.
We minister's should be running to one another right now. We should be gathering together for prayer and direction, companionship and help, care and comradery. It's just the truth, our cities, churches, and spiritual lives depend on it.
The city that I minister in deserves and needs much more than my ability to put a sermon together. The people of Rome need more than a great children's and youth ministry. Even our prayer ministry is just good enough to facilitate and maintain a move of God's Spirit in our community unless I, and my leaders are people of love and forgiveness. To think anything else is to be deceived.
I want you to think about something. We are called ministers of the New Covenant, proclaimers of the faith, preachers of the good news... How, on God's wonderful green and blue planet do we ever get to the place in our thoughts that it is okay to hold offense against someone else? Regardless of what they have done, or did not do?
I have found this to be true. Most, and I do mean most, of the time someone gets offended at someone else is because the one offended has, and puts UN-COMMUNICATED expectations on the one they are offended at. Not always, but in many, many cases this is the way it plays out. Others still, it's because of unmitigated facts, or gossip, and then lastly, the smallest amounts of offense are due to just a plain ol actual offense.
Never the less, there is no one outside of God's love, Grace and Mercy. The same, my friend, ought to be spoken of us.
More on this subject later.
I love you all...