Saturday, November 24, 2007

Hell Has Frozen Over...

Who would have ever thought that on a sizzling summer day in the hot Delta sun, things could have turned so cold…

One of the oldest clichés ever used goes something like this, ‘hell will freeze over before ______________ (you fill in the blank) will ever happen.’ I’ve used it…you’ve used it…we’ve all used it. And as usual, that ‘whatever’ never happens…just as you predicted. But have you ever wondered what would actually happen, if, that ‘whatever’ did come true? Generally, this cliché is always used when there is a guarantee that the ‘whatever’ will NEVER EVER take place.

I’ve learned, that’s not always true…

After years of serving on staff at a local church, not to mention all the years of being a preacher’s kid, watching…listening to each and everything thing that was said and done in the name of church, I’ve had to learn what it means to have ‘thick skin’. With my own experiences, as well as those from countless other pastors and staff members, it’s become extremely obvious that church members can be some of the most harshest people on earth. Some of the things they say…actions they take…literally can cut to the bone. And generally their target is church staff members. What’s sad, is that many times the advice from senior staff members to younger staff members comes only in the phrase, ‘Well you just need to grow some thick skin.” Instead of trying to help these young guys, they generally just get the brush off. I personally believe there is more to it than just ‘growing thick skin.’ It’s past time that church members stop using pastors and other staff members for target practice.

Having said that, let me also just say that I’ve heard just about every comment known to man when it comes to pastoral staff abuse. And I have developed ‘thick skin’. But just a few short years ago, my family and I suffered so much at the tongues and the actions of many of the church members where I was on staff, that it affected me much more than I realized. I honestly thought that I had moved beyond all of that hurt and bitterness that I felt in those early days. I was drastically wrong.

I had somehow, allowed the memories of that unbelievable experience, to hide themselves away in the pits of my heart. And there, they began to manifest themselves into deeper hurt…bitterness…even anger, without me actually realizing it. I truly thought I was over this. But instead, I had a mountain of unforgiveness growing inside me, with no end in site…


…to be continued.

1 comment:

Jonathan Snow Carpenter said...

this is why I MUST remove myself from my current situation... I have felt the sting of bitterness and resentment creeping into my life and I have no desire to allow it to take over. As a more "experienced" fellow staff member loves to condescendingly say to me, "you can only control how you feel and respond." He's right, of course, but that doesn't mean that we should always give the "jerks" a free pass and write it off as their "personality." Thanks for sharing this, Jim.