Recently a lay person told me that he was uncomfortable with some of the things his pastor had said in a class she was leading for his church. He talked to her and then told me he wound up thanking her for making him uncomfortable.
The Gospel comforts me but sometimes that comfort comes with challenges, some challenges so strong that I am occasionally uncomfortable. What should you do when the Gospel—or someone’s presentation of it—challenges you?
First, I’d ask that you ask God to open your heart and mind to continue to grow. I am so much more mature today than I was yesterday because I ask God to help me listen and to help me grow. Next, I would ask you to emulate the lay person who spoke to me. Talk to the person who challenged you. Find out what they were saying and why. How do they understand the Gospel and its implications for life? All of this is framed, of course, with the understanding that as John Wesley said: Christians must not always think alike but we must love alike. Wesley could say that because he trusted in the gift of community—community that wasn’t afraid to challenge itself or its members. I myself would be ill-served by a Christian community where I always heard what I already think.
Next, share your perspective, as well as, why you find your friend’s view so uncomfortable. Ask for the same respect you have offered.
Then ask your friend to pray with you and ask God to guide you to pray for them. When I am in the attitude of asking God’s blessings for another person, even one with whom I disagree, it’s not usually possible for me to stay frustrated by them.
Lastly, trust God to guide you. We promised the Lord when we professed our faith that we would offer ourselves to the Body of Christ, to continue to grow. Jesus said we are to make disciples which means that we are to continue to invite all believers, ourselves included, to continue to grow.
At the end, I completely get why my brother was made uncomfortable by his pastor. I actually also know that the pastor is challenged by the brother. And I know that they are better because they have shared together how blessed they are to be challenged by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
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Hello from Harvey – When the Gospel Makes You Uncomfortable
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