The CO2 of Holiness - Part 3
Many congregations have toxic individuals who, for whatever “holy crusade” reason, consider it their mission to undermine the mission of the local church. How do we respond to those persons in a way that honors Christ’s call to selfless love while advocating for the body of Christ and the mission of the local church?
You pray for you - in prayer you need to confess your frustration to the Lord. You cannot and must not act out of frustration or allow your decisions to be compromised by the same. We pray for wisdom and insight. We pray for the light of the Holy Spirit to shine on this situation and reveal what is going on. If that light reveals we are the problem then we confess again. Prayer will drive us to humility before Christ. If that is not the attitude of your heart, don’t act.
You pray for them - Do you believe God can change any heart? I do! I believe no one is beyond hope. God has the power to transform hearts and grant people 2nd or 222nd chances. If God wants to transform them, and He does, then pray that God will act with such wonder that any refusal to respond to the Spirit will be a clear signal to move forward.
Seek wisdom: If your organization has a leader that oversees pastors, talk to them for wisdom and advice. Talk to a mentor. It is wise to seek the advice of those who have been where you find yourself.
Talk to them: Do what the Bible says and talk to the person. What is going on in their life? Are the misinformed? Do they feel neglected? Can you help them understand? Whatever you do, don’t talk about the person but talk to the person.
Talk to them again if necessary: If the first talk does not work then take two trusted board members with you for another talk.
Act: There is a time to wait and a time to act. When it is time to act, you must act. Don’t say, “I heard that you said something.” It is much better to say, “Brother Y said (you must get and need permission) that you informed him of the following. Is that true?” If they say no, call Brother Y and put him on speaker phone. You must get the light to shine on what is going on. I have seen this result in confession and repentance. I have also seen this result in anger. Acting is always hard but I have seen how acting resulted in saving the church from lawsuits and ongoing pain. It may mean that the toxic person is told they are no longer welcome in your local body.
I know acting can feel unnecessarily harsh. However, consider this…“Organizationally, I think there are times when we tolerate inappropriate behavior. Basically we allow people who are cancerous or unhealthy in the organization to pollute it. We overestimate how painful it is to remove that chronic person but we underestimate the relief to the organization when it is finally done. 100% of leaders 6 months down the road contemplate why they didn’t act sooner” (Craig Groeschel leadership podcast on July 17, 2019)
Grieve: Our goal is always redemption and reconciliation. When that does not happen, we should grieve, not rejoice. Relationships have been broken. People who have expressed trust toward another have experienced deep disappointment. If your attitude is not to grieve then revisit step one and you pray for you. There is a time for mourning and a time for that mourning to end. When the mourning ends, move forward into the mission of the Church.
There is so much more that is needed to be said within this 3-part blog. However, it is my hope that this serves as a positive starting place that guides you in the right direction.