If you have strong convictions about some things, if you’re passionate about other things, and if you believe that truth matters, I can guarantee that not everybody will like you.
Yesterday a woman, on leaving my place of business, turned to my associate and said, referring to me, “Don’t believe anything he says.” This is a woman whose pet ministry project (for lack of a better word) for the last twenty years — exactly twenty as of this fall — is currently under much local scrutiny.
There are currently large amounts of speculation and conjecture flying around as to what happened, what is happening and what will happen. Personally, I like to stick to the facts.
That’s where the problem starts. I have a very good memory for things. I know who said what to who, when they said it, where they said it and possibly even what they were wearing. But I try to deal to deal in facts.
Also, I tend to focus on comparisons. Without actually acknowledging the issue someone else is raising, I may come back with, “Actually that’s very similar to an issue taking place in a number of locations right now; for example the way they’re handling something like this in…;” and then I’ll launch into a narrative that can only be described as informative.
I have a broad view of what is going on right now in church and ministry circles — blogging helps, too — and I believe that knowledge is power. The more truthful and accurate information that is given to others, the better equipped they are to assess situations and make decisions. My only part of the story that would concern this woman is admittedly subjective, and therefore has only been shared with a smaller subset of the whole, but it’s something that fortunately I have in writing.
In other words, I have no problem sleeping at night; but for the echoes of people like her making comments like that about people like me.
And in the middle of all that God sends someone. Actually twice in six days, the same person has entered my life at moments of extreme vulnerability. I don’t even know his last name. He spoke encouragement and appreciation and helped me realize that for every Pharisee that is getting worked up over ecclesiastic issues, there are lepers and blind men and tax collectors and prostitutes and broken people — which we all were and are at some time — who are being helped and healed and taught and encouraged and sorted.
We had a great conversation today. I have no idea how long we talked, but I was an hour late getting home. (And because of his delaying my departure, I had another great interaction with someone who came in after quitting time.)
So God is good. No matter what the Pharisees think. But don’t believe it just because I said it.