On the front page of our local newspaper last week the headline read, “Pastor Apologizes for Comment”. The article went on to describe that comment made during a sermon three weeks ago and the subsequent apology a week later.
This isn’t about the comment, it’s about the response of one supposed congregant that took issue with the Pastors’ comments and perspective.
With the hot button of race and prejudice in America on everyone’s mind, emotions run high when anyone, including a Pastor who made a point worth considering, mentions the topic in public. Having someone from the other point of view become offended and lash out is a common occurrence. In this case, the problem arose when the congregant, offended by the comment, decided to call the local newspaper to complain.
What’s wrong with that response? Heck, if you’re angry go tell somebody about it, right? The local newspaper included.
Problem is this for any believer, (Matthew 18: 15-17) “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.” (The Message)
The answer is simple, If you don’t like what your hearing, talk to the person that offended you. Don’t run to the press. I happen to know the Pastor involved here. I also understand what was said in the context of the message. It warranted a conversation not an effort to anonymously indict someone whose intention was not to incite anyone to anger or hatred. He apologized for the way he spoke his mind. That’s good, but better would have been a face to face conversation to gain understanding.
It’s what God calls us to. Respect and love. Loving others enough to confront them directly – In love.
And that’s the memo.