A friend spoke in chapel today. He did a great job, and said some complimentary things about me. Here’s a conversation I had with someone after:
Her: It’s great to hear that you’ve matured. I guess we gave up on you too soon. Me: I don’t know if you gave up on me too soon. You’re going to a good church now. Her: Well, we did give up. We were so discouraged. There were a lot of us praying that you’d either change or leave. It’s good to hear the Lord has changed you. Me: Well, I’m glad too, and I’m glad you’re enjoying your new church.
At one time, I would have harbored all kinds of ungodly thoughts toward this woman. I know her pretty well, and now know that this is now par for the course in the ministry. If you’re going to be a pastor, you’re going to encounter ungracious people. One book calls them “well-intentioned dragons”. The main thing to remember as a pastor is not to become a dragon in return. I remember Joe Stowell talking about a member of his church saying, “Pastor, one of my friends heard you speak somewhere and they said how good you were. I told them, ‘Are you sure it was Joe speaking?'” Fortunately, after twelve years of doing this, this causes me to laugh rather than to cry.