What happens when your leaders leave you heartbroken? What happens when people cause pain, undue stress, and unnecessary chaos? What happens when these people are fellow Christians? What do we do with that? I wish is wasn’t true, but my wife and I can now speak to this from experience. One third of our 2018 was consumed with potential bitterness. We experienced rejection, lack of transparency, dishonesty, and otherwise political engagement, that left us simply heartbroken and dumbfounded. The next step was bitterness.
I know some will immediately blame God and religion. But I’m not sure if God has much to do with religion. After all, ‘religion’ is humanity’s way of making sense of God. We have no reason to believe God created ‘religion,’ but rather, allowed us to formulate our thoughts, beliefs, and actions into some form of organization.
We certainly can’t blame the broken system, rather, we have to reflect on the broken people who operate within the system. As a result, the culture we’ve created is what makes or breaks an imperfect system. We all play a part in that, and can all play a part in restoring it as well.
That means that religions and denominations are ‘man-made,’ and completely on the hook for any problems that arise within them. But that doesn’t mean we can’t recognize and overcome those issues with God’s help. (Click here for more about being effective as a Denomination).If we push away forgiveness, bitterness is sure to become a reality. Click To Tweet
It’s our humanity that wants to express anger, fear, and resentment – but the Spirit longs for us to express peace, contentment, and unity. If we push away forgiveness, bitterness is sure to become a reality. As Jesus taught in Matthew 18, forgiveness should be extended no matter what. We know it to be true, because bitterness only hurts the one who is bitter. Forgiveness, on the other hand, has the power to overcome and renew us. So why not extend forgiveness and mercy?
Despite the mess we make, however, God has promised to make something good out of the problems that we create. Some of my own blog posts have actually brought me some encouragement. (I Want To Quit, When God Says, ‘Not Right Now…’, and, The Church Is Not A Democracy) I’m reminded of God’s sovereignty and know the Kingdom is much bigger than the local church and the members and leaders inside.
The fact is, God has called us to pastor people, and we’re excited to do so. But…
Sometimes God says not right now. We have the right idea, but wrong timing.
Sometimes everything lines up and we, as humans, just get in the way of God’s plan.
Sometimes we miss the mark, and misunderstand God’s will.
At the end of the day, however, it doesn’t matter what happens. The Kingdom is too valuable to become bitter.We can’t allow an unexpected result to derail what God is doing, whether we messed up, or whether someone else caused everything to fall apart.
Deidre and I are once again contributing to the Kingdom. It doesn’t look the same as we thought, but God is clearly using our giftings in new and beautiful ways. A third of our year was quite painful, but as we learn to forgive, and allow God to place us in an area of healthy contribution, bitterness has no power.
So, no matter what happens, don’t let unexpected results stop you from taking healthy risks in the future. The Kingdom is too valuable, for us to allow our humanity to derail the journey ahead. The Kingdom is much bigger than the problem you’re facing, or the broken ‘man-made’ system that is slowing you down. Put your face towards Jesus, contribute to the Kingdom, and move away from anything that might get in the way of that valuable contribution.
The Kingdom is too valuable!
How do you respond to fellow believers when they disappoint you?
Share with me in the comment section below (or on social media). You never know how you may encourage someone else!