Imagine you're in a war. You're firing at the enemy, and the enemy is firing back at you. Your battalion has no idea how the enemy discovered your current location. What is worse, the enemy seems to know your every move before you make it. They are detonating all your valuable equipment and your arsenal. They are finding all the places you and your battalion thought were safe places. You watch as faithful men all around you are falling. Many surrender and are marched off into captivity.
Then things are silent just long enough for the smoke to clear. You scan the area with your binoculars to discover the most heart breaking sight you could have ever imagined--one of the best men from your battalion is among the enemy. He is dressed like them. He is armed and has been firing at you the whole time. He has been sharing classified information with them and leading them to every vulnerable spot where they could do the most damage. You are sunk. You can't even imagine moving forward any farther. You feel you have nobody left that you can trust.
"And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,
Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,
And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor."
Those who are closest to you have the ability to do the most damage. This is a very real and scary truth. Just for a moment, nevermind that everything worked out for good according to God's plan. That is not the point. Judas was a traitor, and Jesus and the rest of the disciples were hurt and betrayed by him!
I expect that none of us would ever want to be a Judas. Yet, if we are not careful, we second men have the potential to become traitors ourselves and have a huge impact on the destruction of our pastor (or at least his current testimony and ministry). I would hope none of us would ever be so wicked as to desire our pastor's destruction in any way. But I would venture to say that we could unknowingly be hurting him and putting "The Mission" in jeopardy by some of our careless actions.
Following are a 10 simple thoughts that could go a long way in keeping us from ever becoming a "traitor" to our pastor and church family:
1. Recognize the importance of the mission of the church, and make that your main focus.
2. Recognize the dangerous and manipulating power of the enemy to hinder the mission and to destroy the church from within.
3. Pray! Pray for your pastor, pray for your fellow laborers and church family...our greatest asset is prayer.
4. Discuss any significant differences of opinion (regarding theology, methodology, etc.) you have with your pastor in private.
5. On things you cannot come to agreement on, assure your pastor that you recognize his authority and you will do your best to support his views (this doesn't mean you necessarily compromise your own convictions).
6. Never talk negatively or engage in gossip about your pastor to members of your church.
7. Rebuke anyone (in love) that would come to you secretly to discuss their negative views about the pastor, and demand that they talk with the pastor about them.
8. Be sure to let your pastor know if you have engaged in such a discussion with other members, and reassure him that you will discontinue further discussions to the best of your ability.
9. Support your pastor publically as often as you can.
10. Even in the worst possible case, if you must resign your position on account of major disagreements you have with your pastor's doctrine or methodology, resist any pressure to criticize or belittle him to your next pastor or other fellow pastors or church members.
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