I wish I had written this yesterday.
As with every day that I send out email blasts, today I woke up to “unsubscriptions” to my newsletter. This is a risky topic to address because every one of us has had it up to there with spam, sex ads and well-meaning but annoying blasts from our friends and associates. So I want to narrow this down to two categories: FRIENDS and FELLOW MINISTERS.
First and foremost let me make it perfectly clear that if for whatever reason you do not wish to hear of me or from me, while it may sting for a bit, I completely respect your right to choose and in the long run I’m not sure it matters much. Most of you are believers and for that I’m glad. And for the rest of you, I know that God has a plan to reach you that may or may not involve me down the line or at all.
So if you need to move on to the degree of unsubscribing, so be it. I love you anyways and you are always welcome in my circle. Unless…
Just like you I need certain behaviors and habits exhibited by my friends. Courtesy and sensitivity being of utmost priority. In the course of hundreds of emails, texts and phone calls a week I’m not sure my Christian charity should extend to a notification telling me people who call, write, text, dine or date (!) me have no interest in my emails. This is not ego talking guys, without communication around this, we’re sending messages to our so-called friends and loved ones we may have no intention of sending.
The friends I speak of have and still require a lot of my attention, love and support AND many of them have me on THEIR blast lists or incessantly ask me to LIKE something on Facebook etc. Christian friends please make a choice. Tolerate (i.e. delete and keep it to yourself) emails from people who know you by name or have the guts (balls, respect) to say to their faces your concerns, feelings or lack of interest. Dismissing people is too convenient and downright cold.
I suspect that this sounds like an emotional rant. Maybe. But it is a spiritual concern as well. 29 years ago this March I chose to live my life in the shadow of the Lord Jesus Christ and He has spent the majority of that time training me and convicting me on how to better treat His people. Not perfect here but very well aware of how important it is to Him that we put each other’s needs and feelings before our own and err on the side of caution so as not to stumble any of His little ones.
Through my ministry I have seen a perspective of Christian behavior that can hardly go unaddressed. I have ministers inviting me events, asking for emotional, spiritual, and financial support, asking for my counsel who never return my calls or emails and/or ultimately unsubscribe to my blasts. I support one-sided relationships in reaching the lost but with fellow saints? NO WAY!
Tell me, if you treat me like I’m The Giving Tree, how do you treat everyone else? How do you treat God?
Living in the shadow of the Lord should produce goodness not an army of selfish brats who leave a trail of want, hurt and confusion in their wake. Ask yourself this, you who cannot be bothered with nominal patience and support of friends and/of fellow ministers, who fills in the blanks left by your absence? SATAN! Yup, by your pick-and-choose-who-I-need-to-respond-to attitude you leave holes in your relationships that God cannot fill because your actions stumble the people you claim to love and support.
Let your yes be yes and your no be no! If you have said to ANYONE, “Call me anytime,” “I love you, brother” “I’m there for you,” “God told me…” you have OBLIGATED yourself before the Lord by your own words and you do not have the right to blow that person off or play the “I’m too busy” game.
Lose some sleep. Skip a meal. Or a shower. And contact the people you have promised yourself to. If only to end your commitment to them as a courtesy. But don’t call yourself friend or minister if there are people out there who are wondering, “Have I done something?” “Are you mad at me?” “Is God mad at me?” simply because they are not high on your interest list.
And don’t brag about being a Christian who loves the Lord when He is the one who said, “Why do you say you love Me and not do what I say?”
I suspect to have today the largest amount of unsubscriptions ever. And I’m sure to get some tasty responses as well. Listen, if you are reading this and we have met, I have sincerely reached out to you to the best of my ability in the love of the Lord. If you call me, write me, text me etc. PLEASE don’t inadvertently send me a message of rejection and disapproval. You are forced to live with Viagra ads, why not volunteer to tolerate me?
Maybe you’ll think twice about how you’re affecting others by what seems to be innocuous behavior on your part. Maybe you’ll see that you have strayed a bit from the shadow of the Lord where His fruit is so very sweet to the taste.
And instead, passed on a bit of sour to the rest of us. Unintended, of course.