What should leaders do to avoid hurting church members?
James 3: 13-17 (Extended Bible) Who is there among you who is wise and intelligent? So may, with your noble life, show your [good] work with him [unobtrusive] modesty [which is the proper attribute] of true wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry, selfish ambition) in your hearts, do not take pride in it and therefore challenge and be false to the Truth.
This [superficial] wisdom is not that which descends from above, but is earthly, not spiritual (animal), even diabolical (demonic). Because wherever there is jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry and selfish ambition), there will also be confusion (uneasiness, disharmony, rebellion) and all kinds of wicked and vile practices.
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure (immaculate); then he is peace-loving, courteous (considerate, gentle). [It is willing to] yield to reason, full of compassion and good fruit; is sincere and sincere, impartial and sincere (free of doubts, hesitations and insincerity).
I get calls from church members quite often, sometimes they just want someone to pray with them and sometimes in their voice I can tell that they just need someone to encourage them in the Word of God. But every now and then they call me to tell me about someone in the church who hurt them, it is rarely physical harm, most of the time it is a failure on the part of the church leaders to encourage them in their time of need.
Whenever I get that last type of call, I hope that God will give me the right word for them, even while my ear is still on the phone listening to their dilemma, I am in prayer, asking God to use me as a conduit so that they can receive. the message He has for them. Sometimes through the works of the Holy Spirit wisdom abounds, sometimes no words are given me and I know that my task is that of a sounding board or a listening ear. Whatever the case, it is the Spirit of God that dictates my answer.
Today we find members of the Body of Christ in constant conflict with each other, members of the choir against other members of the choir, proud and controlling people who prefer to point to the splinter in their eye and then rip out the trunk of theirs. Someone can’t be alone with Miss Green “Because she’s too bossy” or “Deacon Jones thinks he’s someone’s boss.” These are all platitudes even though Jesus said, “All men will know that you are my disciple if they love one another.” Of course babies in Christ will make mistakes, but what about those who have been in Christ for years, those appointed to the office of deacon, elder, or pastor? What do we do when these conflicts point to a leader? More importantly, what must a leader do to prevent he or she from being the source of the member’s conflict?
There is nothing more unsettling than having to apologize for another leader’s carnal treatment of a member. And most of the time it is with those members who are the newest in their walk with Christ, those members that we must handle with the utmost care and love. Those members who seek to find Christ in our behaviors, for which we seem to have less patience.
It may be almost impossible to walk this path with Christ and never have conflict with another member or someone who is not in the faith. However, as leaders we must be more aware of how we carry the flag of Christ in all aspects of our lives. If our attitudes and behaviors are driving away the flock of God, then we are against building the kingdom of God. We are, as the Bible says, an enmity against God! We cannot march under the bloodstained banner of Christ on Sunday and forget about him the rest of the week. Good ministry to church members should be a walk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Luke 9:23 And he said to all: If anyone wants to come after me, deny himself, take up his cross every day and follow me.
This is not a request, but a requirement, so when I hear things like Deacon So-in-so did this, or Elder What-cha-ma-call-always does that, I am often left speechless, while waiting in the Spirit of God to guide me.
When a church leader is the source of the complaint we must take this cry for help very seriously, we endanger the character of the leader, and the salvation of the member, neither of which should be fractured by carnal thinking on the part. of one or both or of them. God has given leaders so that they can guide those who have not reached maturity in their spiritual walk with Christ. A leader is tasked with giving God’s Word in its purest form while still encouraging and non-judgmental in the way he ministers to the flock.
In ministering to the flock, the leader’s primary goal should not be to correct an individual’s problem, or to point the finger at who’s to blame, or to use his or her position to make judgments, but rather to wait on the Spirit of God to guide you in what to say. With spiritual insight into what the deepest problem the person is dealing with and spiritual knowledge of the scriptures, a leader should be able to provide the encouragement to grow beyond the problems of the members.
(Romans 15:14) And I too am convinced of you, my brothers, that you too are full of goodness, full of all knowledge, capable also of admonishing one another.
It does not matter how much a leader wishes to give the member what the leader thinks and what he needs in his moment of despair, if these two ingredients (spiritual discernment and spiritual knowledge of the Scriptures) are not the basis of spiritual advice (advice that has his origin in the Holy Spirit of God) which is only the opinion of that leader.
When the leader is not spiritually guided to the correct scripture and has not properly discerned the problem, then the leader can become confused as to what to say to a member. Even worse is when out of pride, (because they have not received a word from the Holy Spirit) that leader can give carnal advice, which has its origin in what they think in their head, and not in what God has for them.
Also, when the leader is not led by the Spirit of God, he will allow his knowledge of the individual or his situation to derail sound judgment. And any advice given will not be based on the Spirit and will be carnal and evil, no matter if the advice is given with good intentions or not.
(James 3:15) This wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, sensual, diabolical.
“I said that what I said out of love is never the right answer when it comes to the fragile heart of a new member in need. We should never have to apologize for our actions or the way we talk to a member, because our actions and the way in which we speak must be pious, peaceful, loving, easy to beg (to receive) and be full of mercy.
(James 3:17) But the wisdom that comes from above is first pure, then peaceful, sweet and easy to deal with, full of mercy and good fruit, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
Too often I have seen members leave the church (including my own family) and some eventually walk with Christ because a Church leader hurt them emotionally, physically, or spiritually. Some leaders justify the members leaving by saying that God is plucking the wheat from the tarries, but this is the propaganda of the devil and a reflection of the irresponsible and proud behavior of the leader.
(James 3:14) But if you have bitter envy and strife in your heart, do not boast or lie against the truth.
If we speak harshly to our members, we lack love and lie when we say we love them. If we say it with our mouth, we think it with our heart, because out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks
(Matthew 12:34) Generation of vipers! How can you speak well, being bad? Because of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
Impatience, being critical, and prideful behaviors are sins that impress so many leaders in the Body of Christ, as murder, robbery, and sexual perversion imprison the general population of any modern correctional facility. Leaders must always be on the lookout for the seed that they allow to take root in their heart, because every seed planted will always produce some kind of fruit (sometimes a peach, sometimes a cactus). The leader must constantly ask himself, “Do I have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, humility, and self-control?” (Galatians 5:22). This is especially true when it comes to new and difficult members. . If the leader lacks any of these, he must make corrections in his life immediately! Because the leader is responsible not only to his pastor or earthly leaders, but also to God for his salvation and the perfecting of the saints in the Body of Christ.
Your brother in christ