I was sitting with a pastor and he was sharing some of the struggles amongst his sheep.  One of the branches of the church family tree was in a critical destructive spirit.  The attacks were directed against the leadership in general and the pastor in particular…but also one hard working layperson.

The hard working lay person phoned the pastor to commiserate.  When the pastor sighed and talked about his own feelings…the lay person blurted out…”you’re a pastor, you can just runaway, but we can’t.  This is our church”.     I lifted my eyes as he repeated those words to me.  My response was “but you can’t run away, can you?”  And he quietly even a bit sadly commented–“no, I can’t, I am their pastor.  If I run away I am not really their pastor I am only a hireling.  If the Great Shepherd chooses to relocate me that’s fine, but until then, I am their pastor and I must stay and guide them through this patch”.

Wow, what an honourable pastor.  I was impressed.

How many of us find ourselves in situations where our “fight or flight” syndrome kicks in?  If we are pugnacious we put up our fists and rise to the challenge.  If we are irenic or conflict averse, we start packing our suitcases.

Truth and love…not contradictory but at times competitive.  Lord help us to speak the truth, in love.

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