This week’s post is by a very special guest . . . our mother.
Any form of abuse is not okay and you should avoid such relationships if you can. This article comes from a situation that a friend of mine is currently facing. I’ve been disciplining myself to not make Facebook a platform for discussion on religion and politics. I still need to work on that discipline. I try to be positive, most of the time, but this incident has really shaken me to the point of needing to write or do something to make us aware, not only as a person, but as Christians too. I confess, if I lived in the Victorian era I would be the mama chained to the wheel for Women’s Rights Movement. So, here I go.
A friend recently explained to me about certain issues her family is facing with their church. There is one thing about my friend that I know, they have put their life into serving the people and pastoral team. Several families are the backbone of that particular congregation. Are they perfect? No, but neither are we.
I realize every church faces different circumstances and every pastor has their way of handling these situations. I would not want to be a pastor, as I know this job is very stressful. Let’s face it, when you pastor a congregation, you are dealing with people. And dealing with other people’s problems has got to be the hardest and most frustrating job in the world. That is why it is important, that it is really your calling from God.
1 Peter 5:1-14
The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
Not much else needs to be said, this verse wraps up the calling of a Pastor, but the fruit of the Spirit is also key for any Christian.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against, such there is no law.
Abusive situations can and will arise and there are abusers even among church leaders and church members. Here are some things to look for in an abusive situation:
1) Public or private humiliation
2) Angry yelling
3) Afraid to invite others to church because of what may be said from the pulpit or by other church leaders or members
4) Ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments
5) Blame you for their own abusive behavior
6) See you as someone that can be ordered around
7) Intimidation or threats
8) Accusing and blaming
9) Judging and criticizing
If you are a church member, leader, pastor, teacher or if you feel that you are in an abusive atmosphere, respect yourself by walking away. If you are enlightened and find yourself being an abuser in either one or more of these areas, you can change. We all have moments where some of these characteristics need to be squashed. However, when it is reoccurring, then we need the grace of God to change us. Self-help books, counseling, prayer…whatever it takes to help us to not abuse those around us.
I too, have taken on the mindset to be more positive, more caring, more respectful to others. It’s not always easy, as there are some times great aggravations when dealing with people. However, God is the only one that can change a heart. The only thing we can really do is encourage and support.