I have often joked that ministry would be perfect if it wasn’t for the people. I love people, but people sometimes hurt.
So what do you do when a relationship goes bad? What can you do when you’ve made mistakes and asked for forgiveness with nothing but more angry words in response? How should we respond when hard decisions are made which others don’t like? In the real world, when a leader makes a tough decision he or she is seen as decisive. In ministry, a leader who makes a tough decision is seen as evil.
Through the Soul Cravings book and series, Erwin has been guiding us back to Jesus and to the Scriptures as guidance for how to live our lives and how to find fulfillment even as our souls crave intimacy, destiny, and meaning. One week we look at the dysfunctional expression of these cravings followed by the functional expression the next week.
Knowing the great lengths he goes through to guide our community in a way that honors God and honors people and seeing him navigate through angry responses from others who disagree, I couldn’t wait to hear Erwin’s talk on intimacy.
The dysfunctional side of intimacy includes the way we allow jealousy, lust, and bitterness to creep into our souls. To consider where we are in this personal battle, we should ask ourselves:
Do I want to live my life helping others succeed? Do I celebrate the success others achieve?
Am I in a relationship for what I can give or what I can get?
Do I leave people better or worse than when we met?
To avoid jealousy, lust, and bitterness we must follow Jesus’ example. None of us have known betrayal like Jesus. Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss and for some silver coins. Peter denied he even knew Jesus. It is unfathomable to consider how painful it must have been for Jesus to go to His death on a cross as an innocent man, and a man rejected by those closest to Him.
After watching the film The Passion of the Christ a few years ago, a few of us joked that the sequel should be called “Revenge of the Savior” or “Jesus Returns (and He’s Ticked).” Jesus was so mistreated and so abused and so destroyed, how could He not return with at least a rebuke for His flaky and fearful followers?!
Instead, Jesus returns and offers this promise “I come in peace” (Luke 24:36). In spite of all He experienced, Jesus offered love, forgiveness, and peace. What a challenge and inspiration to attempt to emulate.