It is never right to abuse someone else’s kindness. (Maybe there seems to be no connection between that first sentence and the following sentences, but I hope that you can connect them anyway) To be specific it is never right to utilize someone else’s predicament to your self vested interest. It is purely manipulation when you do just that. If rebuke on this and negative reaction surfaces, it will add to the already wrong deed.
Pastors are often put in a predicament that they must not take sides. I do believe that pastors and even preachers were given a compassionate heart that even they can’t understand at times. I have known someone who used to be temperamental and tough to other members. In other words, he’s a church tough guy. He eventually became a pastor. I was surprised that when one of his members is about hit an unbeliever outside church property, he tried to stop a fight. To add to my surprise, he didn’t confront the unbeliever and his member. Pastor’s heart indeed. Even if the members have done something wrong to the pastor or to the church as a whole, the pastor is put in the position that they must forgive. There are even times that if the pastor has the time to visit almost all (if not all) members, he must take time to visit even the members that, at some point, had intentionally wronged them one way or another. For an outsider (meaning, not being a pastor or preacher), I sometimes see this as a Pastor’s predicament.
Let’s face the reality: there are members (not all. In fact, not even most. A truly growing Christian will not INTENTIONALLY give his/her pastor problems) who take advantage of this so called “Pastor’s predicament” by trying to get even to other people that they hate. Of course, the pastor will visit them (they are members; only excommunicated members are usually not visited intentionally) to be updated on their welfare. Then, usually, they will mention things against someone, sometimes lies against that someone. Of course, a wise pastor will confirm the matter as much as possible if it is true. Then, this pastor will visit the concerned person (if he’s also his member) or the local church (if that person is member of another locale). If the concern is really really true, then it is not in waste. THAT IS NOT AN ISSUE. However, if the member who gave his/her pastor this information is found out to be lies or half truths or manipulation of truth, then he/she INTENTIONALLY gives his/her pastor a pounding on the head, even the intention is to get even to someone with those...well...lies. He/she is intentionally NOT helping his/her pastor. For an outsider’s viewpoint (meaning for a non-preacher’s viewpoint), those type of members must be rebuked by another member BLUNTLY. After all, they’re not helping their pastor INTENTIONALLY. Well, it’s a different story when a member did something wrong (i.e, a member was seen drinking in pubs or seen in questionable places or a member committed fornication/adultery) to his/her testimony. I do believe that members even in their carnal or backsliding state do not INTEND to give their pastor headache.
Please help our own pastor. Don’t intentionally give them the headache by getting even to someone. Of course, pastors will not tell these things to members. Pastors are given a compassionate heart at times even more compassionate than their members. Therefore, if you happen to know a fellow congregant who spreads lies just to get even to a person and to the extent to the point that these lies are told to the pastor, REBUKE SHARPLY that congregant. A repentant drunkard, fornicator, drug dealer, adulterer, idolater is better than a self righteous lying congregant. Yes, maybe it’s cruel to give that congregant a disciplinary heart, but maybe a SHARP REBUKE is not cruelty. If that person wanted to hit you back for rebuking him/her, forgive him/her, but MARK THAT PERSON. That person is set to divide members. He/she is also exhibiting self centeredness and selfishness. Never abuse the Pastor’s kindness and compassionate heart. Not only you’ll break your Pastor’s heart, but you’ll also break God’s heart. Not only that, since he is your Pastor, even if your intention is to get even to the person (besides, did that person really wronged you that much?), God will surely not bless your life.
Please let’s take this as a brotherly reminder. Maybe this is not yet happening in your locale, but at least you are reminded. There are many things to do in God’s vineyard. Soulwinning, discipleship, baptism of newly saved people, choir, visitation, Bible study, Sunday school, youth ministry, etc. thus it is physically and emotionally tiring. Thus, let’s be part of the pastor’s supportive cast.
I hope (like many times that I hoped) that this post is making sense.