Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

June 25, 2010

A Loving Couple

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

In an earlier pastorate, I experienced a couple coming to me and expressing love rather than anger.  What a lesson for me!

They approached me privately with the charge that I was neglecting their mother who was confined to her home.  They felt that I was not providing adequate pastoral care toward her.  They were not angry, but they were hurt.  They did not begin to lecture me, but they were straightforward in their charge.  I confess that I wanted to defend myself.

I had visited their mother, but not on the schedule they expected.  There was a difference in our definition of adequate ministry.  For once in my life, God gave me the grace to listen and not speak in a reactionary tone.  I realized  that their spirit toward me was one of kindness and love.  I did not need to try to justify my approach to the shut-in ministry of the pastor because it would  possibly result in a change of attitude and perhaps create unnecessary emotions.

Although my flesh perhaps wanted to be defensive, I apologized and promised to correct my failure.  They were kind and gentle.  Their spirit expressed forgiveness.  But what would have been the result of this encounter if they had come to me in a different spirit?  I have always remembered this couple and the lesson I learned from them.

In addition to their spirit, what I appreciated most was that they did not go public with what they considered my offense against them.  That is not our usual way of doing things.  In or out of the church, human nature tends to tell everybody else that we have been offended or hurt by a certain person.  We fail to go to that person first in privacy.  This couple sought a method that could result in a friendship rather than alienation.

For those who are familiar with the Bible, the approach of the couple to me was Scriptural.  They truly followed the teaching of Jesus.  I commend this approach to you.  I might put it in more direct words.  “If someone has upset or offended you through an action or gossip, go tell them.  They might not be aware of what they have done to you.  In a loving and gentle spirit, talk with them.  Make your motive one of desiring to continue to be friends.”

Of course, in the church there are other steps to take if the person does not respond to your sharing your feelings with them.  For church members, Christ made it clear in Matthew 18:15-17.

Scriptural principles are the source of happiness in the world and in relationships.  Why not try them. This principle is a sure one to improve life!

“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.”  (Matthew 18:15)

Lawson

You might want to read my other blogs that deal with forgiveness.   Church Tested — Part Three, www.lawsonjolly.com/2010/02/06, and My Lack of Forgiveness, www.lawsonjolly.com/2010/05/02.

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