The Church we see today does not always look like what God planned for, unfortunately. The servant of the Lord who leads in the
Church is frequently called upon to handle difficult situations that arise. This lesson is designed to assist the church pastor / elder deal
with such problems.
CHALLENGES AGAINST THE PASTOR
The problem faced by pastors that seems to be the most difficult to handle is the one that is aimed directly at him. It may be only a little
comfort at such times as this, but perhaps it makes one feel better to remember Jesus had to deal with these same types of matters as
did Paul and every other Church leader who has ever lived. If you go through them, you are in some pretty good company.
Do not allow the attack to undermine your calling. Remind yourself that it is God who called you to serve Him. Man has no right to think
otherwise, even well-meaning church members who have risen upon against you and have begun to level false accusations against you.
This is the right time to set yourself into remembrance that you do not fight against flesh and blood. No matter how ugly the folks are
acting nor how horrible their lies, they are really not your problem. The accuser of the brethren is the one at work trying to tear you down
and undermine God’s ministry to which you are called.
Over and again Paul the apostle had to defend his spiritual authority, as we see in some of his letters to churches. One has ask, "Could
not his detractors see the anointing on his life?" Had they not heard of his dramatic conversion to Christianity? Did they not read the
newspaper the day it told of the miracles God performed through him? The fact of the matter is that when people’s feathers have been
ruffled (for whatever reason) they become blind to truth and begin to see only that which supports their twisted thinking. You can see
the devil at work in this, can’t you? Even though the stinging words come from the mouths of brothers and sisters you have broken
bread with and have loved and nurtured and you feel the hurt from this, you must not lose sight of what is true. Satan is the enemy in
this situation. The people feel like your enemy, and indeed they are acting like your enemy, but they are not your enemy. That is why you
must refrain from leveling any kind of counter attack or make any attempt at defending yourself. Walk in love and let God handle them.
He is well able if you will stay out of His way.
Not everyone who rises up against you is a brother or sister in Christ Jesus, even if they are members of your local church. Study I
Corinthians 11. Verse 19 gives you an important piece of information. Let’s read it together. “For there must also be factions among you,
that those who are approved may be recognized among you.”
What is Paul saying here? He is actually declaring that it is good in one sense that the faction occurred because it exposes the true
brothers and sisters in the Lord - “…those who are approved…”. No doubt the problems are painful and people get hurt when evil is
sown and disharmony and strife occur in the body; however, Satan shows his colors when this happens and those who are not of the
flock are revealed. The culling process is therefore good in the long run.
God will reveal to you when the attack happens which of the detractors are of God and which ones are not. You must careful to make
this determination because it will dictate to you how you will handle the matter. Deal with covenant brothers and sisters (even when they
are acting ugly) in love and according to the Word of God. The goal is for reconciliation and restoration with these folks. Sinners, on the
other hand, (those who are not in covenant with you and God) are simply driven out from your midst and cast away. The goal in this
situation is to remove the defiled thing from your camp.
The direct approach is most often the one to use when dealing with your detractors. A face-to-face meeting can oftentimes defuse the
problem and a solution can then be found. Your flesh will not want to meet with them because all it can think about is all they have done
to destroy you and the ministry to which God has called you. You must press through this carnal thinking and do what is right. What does
Jesus say? Look in Matthew 5:23-24. “Therefore, if you bring your gift before the altar, and there
remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First, be reconciled to your
brother, and then come and offer your gift.
This divine directive applies to you in this matter. I wish I could tell you that as surely as you obey God that everything immediately works
out with those who have stood against you. Sadly, it does not always work that way. You will encounter people whose hearts are
hardened to God as well as to you. These are quite difficult to reach. Reconciliation is unlikely, at least in the short term.
Some have proposed the pastor use the Matthew 18:15-17 solution for conflict resolution. I disagree. I feel the spirit of this particular
passage is to give to the saints the means to solve inter-personal problems, not for the elders of the church to use. Step #3 of this
process (verse 17) is actually intended to mean for the elders of the church to hear the matter and rule on it; it is not for the assembled
church body to be dragged into it. The elders are instructed to correct those who are in opposition (II Timothy 2:25) because they stand
in the delegated authority of God over that person; they do not have to attempt resolution like those who do not have the authority to
deal with it directly. Read Isaiah 54:17. “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that rises against you in judgment you
shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me, says the Lord.”
Can you see here how God wants you to handle this difficult matter? First of all, He assures you that the attack will not destroy you.
Stand strong in this knowledge. Do not be moved by what you see, or how feel, or what you hear, or any other consideration. God has
spoken on the matter and you can rely upon Him.
Secondly, notice that you are not told that tongues will not rise up against you. The implication in this verse is that opposition will come.
When these trying times happen you have the responsibility of condemning them. This means you rule on the matter according to the
Word of God. The condemnation is not against those through whom the attack is coming, but rather against the error that flies in the
face of truth. (John 17:17) Implement what Paul teaches you in II Corinthians 10:5. “Casting down arguments [imaginations] and every high
thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
The attack being leveled against you is actually an argument against the knowledge of God. He is the One who called you. He is the One
who installed you as pastor. He is the One who speaks through you. He is the One who aids you in the decisions you make to guide your
church. Those who attempt to undermine your authority do so at their own peril, for indeed they are actually attacking God Himself! That
is why you condemn what is happening. Your love for God and the oath you made to Him at ordination forces you to defend Him and His
honor, for these things are what is really on trial in this matter!
Lastly, notice closely God declares that your righteousness is from Him. For the one called by Him to serve in the fivefold ministry, the
divine calling is inclusive in that state of righteousness. Therefore, do not be moved by what is said, or by what you see, or by what you
feel; be moved only by what is Truth.
I encourage you to stand strong regardless of false allegations leveled against you. Find your strength in the joy of the Lord. Seek out
other servants of the Lord who can stand with you and pray with you and help hold you up, if needs be. And, above all, during these hard
times, let love prevail. Pray much and often. Immerse yourself in the Word because its pages hold what you need.
If you find yourself in a difficult time, there is help. Contact us and we are glad to help. I bless you in the powerful name of Jesus Christ
|What To Do When You Are Falsely Accused