I'm one of the screwiest men you'll ever find serving in the capacity of minister. I can't figure how I've ever survived the church or how it has survived me. It surely must be the gigantic grace of God.
When I started out I had been in the church four years. I wasn't a know-it-all. I was much worse. I was a didn't-know-it-any and I had Preaching School test scores to prove it! If it would have been a three-year school instead of two, surely I would have become a drop-out statistic. I struggled to "get it" as to how we concluded what we concluded from the Bible.
Oddly, I believed we were the only ones right and I was proud of it. It was just that I couldn't get a grip on many of our formulas that got us to where we were. All I knew was the others were wrong and we were right and I wasn't going to be one of those weak sort who didn't go by the Bible.
In this mix of immaturity was my ultra-sensitive personality that took shadows as enemies. I was unapproachable for any duty of conflict. I had strong feelings but could not withstand opposition. One of the things my original elders at Memorial Drive kept telling me was that I was too sensitive. Well....that really offended me.
Yet, they were right on target. And it was my perpetual struggle with some of their decisions which began to help me grow out of these hurt feelings. I guess one could say I had a lot of practice.
This plague of hurt feelings has never really left me. I'm terribly sensitive. I break out in a rash simply over mispronounced announcements (Kidding) (Sorta). But I have noticed myself improving.
II Cor. 12:5-10 began to enlighten me about this. Conflict is an important ministry factor. Who in ministry doesn't have such abundant importance? However, it is there for us. Antagonism is there for our benefit; to keep us humble and also dependent upon His grace. We learn through personal frustration that the power we yearn for only comes in the form of weakness.
Hurt feelings do appear along the way.....so don't let them go to waste. They are our God-signals that we can't but He can. So don't be discouraged...and for heaven's sake stop your pouting....as all those arrows coming your way to sting a bit are valuable in the sight of God.
Been chewed out lately? Good. You had it coming.