Being a Christian and adhering to the old “Turn the other cheek” thing, and the “Love your enemies”, “Pray for those who spitefully use you” and “Give, give GIVE” stuff, sometimes it’s simply maddening to try to accommodate all of the requests upon our spiritual commitment and, quite simply, patience with idiots.
After the death of my son, many people contacted me with their woes and recent losses only to be stunned that I stated that I was not emotionally equipped to commiserate at that time. I received hate letters, threats of disclosure (“I’m going to tell all my friends…”) and a wave of rejection and dismissal.
I’ve stated many times over the years that the only times I am ever addressed as “Pastor” or called a “Christian” is when someone wants something from me or, more often the case, if I’ve come up short in people’s eyes. I’m “Pastor” when people want me to visit them in the hospital or if they need money or a letter of recommendation for school or a job. I quickly get downgraded to “Friend” when people need me to understand why they cannot attend an important event or donate to my ministry-even if they previously promised to do so.
Yet these are usually the same “friends’ that call on me for prayer, visitations, time and money. See the pattern? It may come as a surprise to you to learn that I am only human and I succumb to the same temptations that you do. In this case, there’s a lot of accumulated frustration and bitterness that ends with, “you weren’t there for me after I was there for you, so this time I’ll be busy elsewhere.”
I own it. And I own it shamelessly. There’s only so much time in a day and I’d rather pour my life into people and things that are the better for it than be drained continuously by people who refuse to learn from their own mistakes but are lightening quick to point out the errors in others: “Some pastor you are, Paisley.”
Yet God sees our lives so different. Since we all sin and fall short of His glory and are doomed to repeat the same sins time and time again, He figures since He is eternally patient with us, we can extend the same to each other. So even though you ask me to do whatever it is and I gladly oblige, and then you promise the same to me but when I call on you, you disappear or shower me with empty promises, when you come-a-knocking again, no matter how I feel (and I will be feeling something, I promise you that), I’ll do my very best to say yes because that’s what God does for me, time and time again.
Sheesh. I may have just discovered Basic Christianity.
BUT let it be known that I still don’t like it and would really appreciate it when I ask for your time, energy or money, you simply say yes now and again. In the past week I have been asked to do visits, counsel, give money, rides, help people move, go to friends’ shows, or allow people to go off on me in a misunderstanding that if the tables were turned, I’d have to mind my p’s and q’s. Every single person who did not get the exact Paisley they sought at the moment completely wigged out, told me off, or merely passed judgment on the legitimacy of my Christian-ness.
Goodness, I would love to have such luxuries with these same people. But I know better. I know that God will only let me go so long and so far away from unconditional love and service before I get-a-talking-to. Whomever the Father loves, the Father chastens, right? Well, He’s gaga over me.
So if you asked me for something and I could have done it, or helped in any way and I chose not to because in my mind you are a taker who has drained me more than enough, I am truly sorry. You’re still self-consumed to the point of being spiritually useless to most and damaging to all, but it’s not my place to turn you away.
I will try to serve you better and pray you don’t take advantage that I answer to a Higher Authority than my own opinion. BUT that doesn’t mean that I’m going to pretend this is not so. 2015 is my year to say it all and say it like it is…
Continue to take advantage and abuse God’s servants, continue to make promises in His name that you don’t plan to keep, and there will be much consequence. Not from me, I’ll still do whatever you ask .This is between you and God henceforth.
But continue to use words like “Pastor” and “Christian” as sarcastic jabs to control my will… God or no God, HEADS WILL ROLL.