A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants. (2 Timothy 2:24-26)
As a pastor, counselor, and seminary chancellor, I have often found myself in an unpopular spot. An individual who has come to me pours out his or her soul. And God very clearly leads me to confront or point out a few specifics that the person finds rather painful to hear, not to mention accept.
Suddenly, I become the verbal punching bag.
Now understand, I didn't write the Book, and I in no way view myself as the individual's judge, even though the person may think I do. But I have had counselees scream at me, curse, stomp out of the room, and share with me a piece of their mind they couldn't afford to lose. Some wait until later and write me one of those flaming missiles that burns your eyes when you read it.
And what did I do to deserve that treatment? I told the truth. I simply carried a message as tactfully and well-timed as possible, but it was rejected—at least for a while.
But the payoff comes later when the person realizes the truth was told and I really had his or her good at heart.
I suppose the moral of the story is this: being God's servant may not be very pleasant, but when you do and say what is right—unpopular though it may be—good will come.
Or better, in the words of Solomon:
When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD,
He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. (Proverbs 16:7)
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