Choosing Not to Live on Rumors
I’ve had a couple of conversations lately where I mentioned the strange phenomenon that best as I can tell, happens in churches just about everywhere.
Here’s the basic scenario:
- A pastor loves and cares for a family for months or even years–prays for, counsels, visits, eats with, and builds relationship because he loves this family (most days, of course).
- Another person comes in and after a couple services has poisoned said family against the pastor, the leaders of the church, and/or the entire church itself.
- Family stops coming to services, returning phone calls, and you rarely hear from them again.
I can say that as a pastor it’s a devastating thing. I understand no leader or church is perfect and I have done my fair share of making bad or unwise decisions, but it always floors me that the opinion of someone you’ve just met can be more important to you than a relationship you’ve had for a much longer time period.
All this stirred in me again when I read this quote from Glenn Packiam’s book, Secondhand Jesus,
Ironically, it’s this fear of being wrong that causes us to entertain rumors. We’re afraid that others know something that we don’t, and we don’t want to be left in the dark.
This finally helps me make a little sense of the situation. A person is afraid that they’ve missed what a horrible, lying, conniving charlatan their pastor has been and so they listen with rapt attention as this new person who has known you for such a short time can build an airtight case against you while you aren’t there to defend yourself. Got it.
With me and others, imperfections plainly on display, it’s one thing. The sadder by far is allowing this to happen between you and God.
It happened to Adam and Eve in the garden. This smooth-talking serpent swooped in and played on their fears that God might be holding out on them and the rest is history. We hear these things constantly.
“He doesn’t want what’s best for you.”
“If He really loved you, you wouldn’t be going through this hard time.”
“God’s not listening. You need to just go after whatever will make you happy.”
Whenever your relationship is lacking (or non-existent), the enemy will strike. You have to be on guard. Glenn also wrote this,
Rumors grow in the absence of revelation. Every time we keep God at arm’s length, declining an active, living knowledge of Him, we become vulnerable to rumors.
Funny thing is, you can live off the rumors of God’s goodness for a while, but when the rumors of misconduct or anger start you won’t be able to resist them. Those rumors breed unbelief and striving and all kinds of evil, but when you embrace and consistently give yourself to pursuing a true revelation of Him, He will respond to your hungry heart.
What about you? How have rumors played a factor in your life or relationships with God or others? What happened as a result?