(A Facebook Post.)
I’m sharing my own post because I want to add something to it that I’m hoping won’t get lost in the comments. I see two things happening in response to what I shared.
First, pastors are chiming in to share their experiences with such things. Two, God’s people are expressing heartfelt concerns that a pastor and his family would be accosted in such ways.
I want to encourage a third piece.
Pastors… God’s people… speak up and push back. Confront these people.
You know what I like about Saint Paul? He steered into the pain of the really tough topics. And when the time came for action, he was decisive. Don’t believe me? Flip over to Titus 3:10-11. Do you want to know what else I like about him? When it came to troublemakers, he named names. Again, don’t believe me? You need to take a look at 2 Timothy 1:15-18.
Pastors, by way of God’s Word, steer into the ones who do these things. Don’t just soak it into yourself as a burden of the Holy Office. You’re helping no one by doing this. If anything, you are perpetuating the issue.
People of God, defend your pastors and church workers. When someone is tearing them down, take their defense. Speak well of them and encourage others to do the same. If someone speaks to you in private about them—speaking unkind things designed only for harm—do not let the words become weaponized confidentiality. Stop them. Call them out. Let them know right away that you will not be keeping their words in secret. If needed, go to the pastor, elders, or church leadership and name names. Don’t refer to the person or situation as “Someone came to me and said…” Shine the light. Call them by name. I dare say that if more of the deliberately bad actors who feed off of such devilry in our churches feared the possibility of being called out for their slithery trades in private, they might just rethink things. With no way of escape and the preached Gospel, God willing, they may even be found in repentance and peace.
Now, I know that what I’m suggesting isn’t an easy thing. I know that most folks are fearful of confronting difficult people. It truly does take an unearthly courage. Pray for that courage, because if most folks remain observers in these situations, unwilling to speak up, those same menaces will continue to do more and more harm.
Don’t be silent. Be courageous. In loving kindness, as best as you are able, steer into it and bring it to an end.
I’ll tell you a secret. But keep it to yourself. A great way to get at your pastor is to keep a careful eye on his kids in order to catch them in wrong-doing. If you watch and wait long enough, you’re sure to find success. Then you can go to the pastor and pointedly remind him that he and his family are no better than anyone else in the church and school. And while I’m almost certain he’ll already know this to be true of both self and family, he’ll be gladdened by your heartfelt concern and it will most certainly serve to bolster the joy he has in the work.