Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Pastor's Admonition

2 Cor. 2:1-4 (ESV)
For I made up my mind not to make another painful visit to you. [2] For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have pained? [3] And I wrote as I did, so that when I came I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice, for I felt sure of all of you, that my joy would be the joy of you all. [4] For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.

Pastors generally love the people entrusted to their care. As Christians we are called to love everyone, even our enemies, that is those who don’t love us back. Love, though, does not mean an emotion, it is an action. Love is a verb. We love not by feeling something for another person, but by what we do for that person. We show love in charity, in exercising patience with them etc. But we also show love by admonishing, rebuking, and correcting. Paul has done this in a letter. (We aren’t sure if this is 1 Cor. Or some other long lost letter.) Pastors too are required to admonish, rebuke, and correct. In today’s world this often comes off as unloving to those who have been admonished, rebuked, and or corrected. There is often fall out in a congregation after this has been done. But it is needful. The pastor isn’t doing it out of a holier than thou attitude, the pastor himself often knows his own weaknesses far better than anyone else. Often, the pastor sees himself in the one he is admonishing. But in love he has too. The same way a loving father has too correct, admonish, and rebuke his children. If he didn’t do this the children would never know that their father loves them. In the long run it is better for the person, than if they were able to continue on their path. But fathers and pastors do it with much anguish of heart, and with many tears. It is hard to do. Sometimes we feel like hypocrites when we do it. We know we need the same treatment from someone else, for we are just as guilty by the same law.

1 comment:

Brigitte said...

A stitch in time saves nine.

When a man is too weak to say the right word here and there, he creates problems for others. (I am talking about men I know.)

Sometimes problems go away by themselves and often not. Sometimes, one thinks it would have been much better to have said nothing. Yet, it can be done quietly, quickly and gently.

It is a big burden and responsibility. As a parent, manager, etc. I feel the same responsibility, thankfully, not for as many people, and not generally for their eternal salvation. I find it draining.

Yet, many things can be fixed by bringing them into the open, finding out how the other person is thinking and coming up with good options. I'd say it's important to maybe have that beer and brat and listen lots first.