Do you ever get mad at ministry? Do you sometimes want to shake your shepherd?
Do you sometimes want to take an ice pick to the “frozen chosen” (Those people who sit in the pews and never act like a Christian the other six days of the week!)? Do you feel frustration with the forgiven? If you answered yes, well, you are in good company. Jesus got mad a few times at religious leaders, His disciples and other folks in the church.
Churches are like families. You love the members but sometimes they bug you or you leave annoyed. Family reunions are fun, but they are also good to be finished with. Carne asada’s are great, but with the food comes frustration, and if there is drinking: fury! Conflict is predictable and as men we are often the more easily angered of the sexes. Change is not easy for different personalities and a good church is a changing church.
So what do you do when you are bugged about your brother? God is really clear. First and foremost is forgiveness. I think we are to forgive others about forty seven hundred times. If we really man up, we do it face to face. Often when we have conflicts, it is best to just “get ‘er done” inside your own head and heart. Say it out loud if you need to. It may feel phony, but God knows the power of our profession of faith, sin, concern and forgiveness. With sin, it is good to confess to a brother and God. You can forgive with just you and the Judge of the Universe.
It is hard to forgive, but even harder to take the plank out of your own eye. We often get frustrated with others for their behavior, lack of effort for the kingdom, how they judge others, how they don’t give like you do and the list goes on. Part of the flesh is to look at others more harshly than ourselves. We have difficulty forgiving others because we don’t look at ourselves. When it is time for the Lord’s Supper, before we sup we need ask for a little forgiveness, not for just our sin, but issues we have with others. We need to go forth and make peace. Blessed are the peacemakers!
Jesus through James and others has said “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” There are a few ways to make that happen. A face-to-face conversation with your loved one, family member or friend, all can be done before the sun sets. Take care of business today, because tomorrow may be just as tough or worse. Drop off the baggage, before the sun comes up. It will be easier to manage tomorrow’s burdens.
If you can’t talk with them personally, send a knee mail to God (pray), seek wisdom, and then maybe send them an email. I have issues with the Internet in general, but email is very cool. It gives you a chance to write, review, pray, review again and then send. I often write emails late and night and early in the morning. Most of them are positive, fun or informative. Sometimes, I have to share with someone a little anger and frustration. Often I will say, “You don’t need to respond, but I just wanted you to hear my concerns.” The email enables you to share, them to read, and you both to pray, and time to pass before there is feedback. The Holy Spirit has its own speed. If I wait before I send or respond, it is often a more spirit-driven dialogue.
I wasn’t mad at you when I wrote this, but I have to admit, I do feel better having shared it!