Under the Bus
Gone are the days when we would get an anonymous note under the door of our office. If people want to complain about us now, they go straight to social media. We have all felt the sting of untruth and half-truth along with accusation and unfounded rebuke. We know what it is like to end the day feeling like we have been thrown under the bus. What do we do when we have been run over and how do we respond?
I have yet to meet a minister that was not hurt when run over on social media. We need to begin with the confession of our pain to Our Father who feels our pain. Cry out to him and connect with the Father. Talk to Him about you.
I would also encourage you to pray for those who attack you. It is what the Bible calls us to do and I have found it to be good advice. Talk to the Father on their behalf. Advocate for God’s provision, welfare and well-being to be extended to the one who attacks you. Talk to Him about them.
One of the worst things you can do in response to being thrown under the bus is to respond in haste. Whereas I am sure there is some scenario that would require an immediate response, the vast majority of time will find patience to be a benefit to you. Your emotion will tell you that this situation requires an immediate response. I still advocate for waiting at least 24 hours before you respond, if at all. You need to let the One you are praying to do His work in you before you respond.
Jesus did not consider his position or his power when he encountered those who threw him under the cross. “Do what you have come to do” was what Jesus had to say. I have found that when someone attacks me on social media, love is usually the better way. If we believe this “life-laying-down-Savior” is our Savior, sanctifier and role model then his actions need to direct our own. Love was his default. Yes, there was one time when Jesus started throwing over tables. If you find yourself throwing over tables often, you may be out of step with love.
I am reminded of King David’s trust in God. When David’s top commanders wanted David to kill King Saul and take the throne that was rightfully his, he cut off a corner of Saul’s rob as he slept and handed it to him the next day. David could have easily thrown a spear at the one who tried to impale him many times. However, David repeatedly trusted God to bring God’s plan to pass. I know all to well the temptation to find a bigger bus, fire that baby up and slam on the gas pedal! Resist that urge because our Father can be trusted.
Since the scripture tells us there is a time for everything under heaven, it is reasonable to assume that there would be an occasion to act when you have been thrown under the bus. My general rule of thumb is that if the accusation is something that is harmful to the greater body of Christ or attacks the community of faith in a way that would harm her witness, then action may be necessary. The severity of the accusation will give guidance to the shape of the response. Please remember though that our goal is not to rush to find a rationale for action. Action should should be reserved for the most serious situations.
As I have followed these guiding principles in my life, I have found greater peace when I am thrown under the bus. I wish what I have written here felt easier to go through. Painful accusation can haunt a pastor. However, as we pray, wait, love, trust and sometimes act, we will see the Holy Spirit work in and through us to His glory.