Unforgiveness in the Church
As a pastor, I am deeply concerned for the church. Research tell us that pastors are being forced from their positions in increasing numbers each year, which means an increasing number of churches are going through conflict. I believe the majority of the time the conflict that leads to a pastor’s departure is a consequence of unforgiveness.I’ve been around the church all my life and have witnessed many church conflicts. I’ve come to the conclusion that most conflict between pastors and congregations can often be traced back to old wounds. The congregations have been wounded by previous pastors and the current pastor is made to pay for the sins of his predecessor. Pastors carry past wounds and the current congregation is made to pay for the sins of previous churches. One telltale sign of this is when no specific actionable complaints are made against the other party. “I don’t know what it is, but something is just not right,” is a sign that the current issue is not really the issue. So often bitterness clouds the emotions and replaces specifics with generalities, which are almost impossible for the other party to respond to. Unfortunately the predictable end result is that relationships are broken, new wounds are added to old ones and people are left wondering what happened.
People are visiting churches looking for freedom and answers to their life problems, but far too often our internal conflicts are drowning out the message of grace. They hear us talking about the Prince of Peace, but are they seeing the evidence of His peace in how we relate to one another? What inquirers really want to know is: “If forgiveness is such a wonderful thing, why aren’t you doing it?” Our lack of forgiveness hinders our ability to share the Gospel message.
Could it be that we really don’t believe the central message of the Gospel, which is: The blood of Jesus Christ covers all sins, including those committed against me!? We like the fact that Jesus’ sacrifice covers all of our own sin. Are we just as glad that it covers the pastor who failed us or the people in the congregation who wounded us? The Church has to do better with this. Our witness to the world depends on it!
AUTHOR QUOTE: The blood of Jesus covers all sins, including the ones committed against me!
“But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin,” 1 John 1:7 NET.
Today’s devotional is by Bruce Hebel, Pastor of ReGen Fellowship in Tyrone, Georgia, President of ReGenerating Life Ministries, and Adjunct Professor at Carver Bible College. He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and has served in ministry for over 35 years.