Wednesday, February 13, 2008

And then there are the hard times

Way back in 1994 or so, when I was a young and hip youth pastor, we had this lady in our church who was rather abrasive. I witnessed her bringing other pastors to tears. She took me on a couple of times, even led me to the brink of being fired by telling lies about me. Eventually, the senior pastor wised up to her ways. . .he went and met with her (along with a few witnesses), asking her to get counseling or please attend elsewhere.

In the next 13 years, I dealt with any number of difficult people, but never felt the need to ask anybody to leave. Or even to put the "seek change or move on" to them. I often wondered if I would ever find myself in that place again.

Now, twice in the last year we've come up against it. And I've had to be the guy in that chair, pulling that trigger. And it may be the toughest decision ever to be made.

But I think I understand something of Paul's heart, when he commanded the Corinthian Church to expel the immoral brother, with the hope that in the end he might be saved. So, too, in these situations, the desire has been only for healing and restoration, redemption and wholeness.

We're not talking some sort of dreadful excommunication act here; it's really a "this is unhealthy behavior and needs to change, as it isn't acceptable. But please - let us help you change; we want to see you restored as a full participant in our Body."

I still pray for reconciliation.

And in the meantime, I find that it's a dreadful thing to pull that trigger. Necessary, but awesome, when you consider the full responsibility of that decision.

And I hope it's at least another decade, or perhaps a lifetime, before we find ourselves here again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dan, I know of the situation and feel you are doing the right thing. It takes courage and wisdom and I am in full support of you. In the past, I have seen situations where this should have been done and it wasn't. Finally the offending parties left in anger and it was all very unpleasant. I hope too, that you will never have to do it again. But I just want you to know that I am in full support of your decision.
LC