I was appalled and horrified at what I was hearing as I listened to a brief clip of a message from a well-known pastor that has lately gone viral on social media. Whoever had posted the particular clip I was watching had mashed it together with a clip of Bill Cosby saying “That’s the DUMBEST thing I’ve ever heard in my life!” I have to admit it made me laugh.
But I was brought up short by a good friend of mine when I shared it with him. His gentle response to me caused me to realize that my response to this pastor was just as wrong as the message I’d heard. My intent in sharing with my friend had been to mock and ridicule this pastor and was not done from a heart of compassion or with the love of Jesus.
Please understand I am not saying that I agree with what was said, nor am I endorsing that particular ministry. I strongly disagree with what the preaching in that church emphasises, and I could not recommend any of the teaching, books, or other resources that come from that ministry. But my reaction was wrong.
To personalize John 13:34 and 35, Jesus said that everyone will know that I am his because I love others the way he loved me. If you think about it it’s easy to love those who agree with you, but the proof of Jesus in me is how I respond to those who disagree with me.
Rather than ridicule and tearing down, I need to be praying that the light, and love and truth that is personified in Jesus would be seen clearly in and through the life and ministry of that pastor and church. And I need others to pray that for me.