When They Just Won’t Listen
May 15, 2019
If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them. For people like that have turned away from the truth, and their own sins condemn them. Titus 3:10-11
This is a tough verse for tender-hearted people. We want to believe there is a way we can fix the problem, and too often end up allowing large-scale discouragement and destruction, especially in group leadership. Sometimes people are simply chaos creators. They will tear up what God is trying to do.
Yesterday I had an interesting follow-up to a situation like this. For years, a man attended the church I pastor; it was his family church, and they were all chaos-creators. One by one over the years they gradually left us when their plans failed, but he stayed. He continued to come and disrupt even after his wife left. I began to feel he was the “bane of my existence.” Then one morning God allowed me to read Titus 3:10 in my devotional time. I immediately knew that this man’s continued ability to cause stress and harm the church was because of my poor boundaries. In a few days he attacked again. I told him I was willing and desirous of a meeting with him and his wife. They came immediately, and I was well prepared in thought and prayer.
I quickly recalled our history of conflict, with only the facts, and then I showed him this verse; I didn’t include verse 11. 😊 I figured he could read that on his own. I said, “We are all aware that we have struggled for years, and it has caused heartache in the church. I accept responsibility for making that possible because I kept giving you an ear. The Word clearly says I should give second warnings and then have nothing to do with you. I have been wrong, and I am sorry. I have hindered both of us by allowing this to continue, with dozens of warnings and no action. Today I am becoming obedient for the good of all of us. I will no longer read your letters, accept your phone calls, or converse with you beyond casual pleasantries. If you have further issues with me or the church, go directly to our superintendent or bishop with your complaints. I will not ever discuss anything with you again.” He was startled and of course tried my will, but in a fairly short period of time, he left us, attempting chaos as he left. But we were unruffled.
Back to yesterday. A local pastor called me to get my “references” on a couple who wanted to join his church. Guess who it was? He said they showed much hostility and division. He was calling me and had called another pastor where they had attended for a year. The other pastor said they were death to his congregation, and it was a great day when they left. I was amazed. The pastor calling me said he was protecting his church from chaos. Wise man. This couple has fulfilled verse 11: “They have turned away from the truth, and their own sins condemn them.”
- Jesus, it takes courage to stand firmly against chaos-creators. Help me to not be co-dependent and people-pleasing but to recognize when I am tolerating actions that hinder and destroy Your kingdom. Help me live and lead for Your pleasure, no one else’s applause. Amen.