Speaking the Truth In Love
The local church is experiencing a deficit of confidence. God’s people have drifted away from sound doctrine and a proper respect for their pastors. This is showing itself much in the same way that raising our children caused tensions between us parents and our offspring.
There were times in my personal experience when one of my children said to me, “You hurt my feelings and I hate you.” Yeah, okay…I can take it from a kid, but when the same thing happens with a parishioner it’s harder to take.
There seems to be a large attitude in the local church now that the pastor can comfort me, and help me, and believe me, and defend me, but heaven forbid that he offer criticism or instruction. There is a very real effort on the part of too many church people to diminish the authority of their pastors. Why? Well, it’s the same reason that children want to cut their parents down: it makes them look better.
The Bible is pretty clear: “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you” (Heb. 13.17).
Such submission is particularly important to the spiritual lives of God’s people when their pastors have proven good character, friendship, love and wisdom. That in itself is enough, but when you add the fact that pastors know the Word, preach the Word and exhort God’s people to live it, they are without excuse.
We’ve been warned about these days. The Bible points out that in the last days “Men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…” (2 Tim. 3.2-4).
Remember: pastors are God’s ministers. Rejoice in the comfort they give and be willing to receive their instruction.