Just the Messenger

7 04 2006

Just the Messenger

2 Corinthians 7:8-10 (NIV)  8Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— 9yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

Henry Blackaby tells us that our obedience to God will have costs.  It will affect us and it will affect those around us.  If I am obedient to God, there will be costs.

When Hannah dedicated Samuel to the Lord, I’m sure it was a painful experience for her – rewarding, but painful.  But how did this affect Samuel’s father?  How did it affect Eli?  How did it affect Eli’s disobedient sons?  A lot of people were affected by this single act – for the good and for the bad.  

When I left my previous career, it put extra workload on my former boss.  It affected the paramedics who I used to serve.  When I moved from Portland, it affected my friends and family – my family most.  When I arrived in California, I made new friends and got involved in a new church – all of those people were affected.

As the leader of a church, my obedience (and disobedience for that matter) will affect the entire church.  Sometimes people are not going to like the affects of my walk with the Lord.  But I’ve often taken the approach that Paul writes about in the text above.  “Even if I caused you sorrow…I do not regret it.”

That may sound harsh, but it isn’t intended to be harsh.  It is just a statement of fact really.  By doing the right thing, Paul puts his trust in God.  He doesn’t presume to know how this will affect himself or others.  And even if it makes others unhappy, Paul has to trust that it is for their own good – indeed, in the text above, his distressing letter brings them to repentance and was the best thing.  It is better to have a little sorrow than to have death.

Because of my giftedness in certain areas and the lack of giftedness in others, I sometimes think God uses me to be a thorn in people’s sides.  The hard part about this role (which I do not seek), is that I get the heat for their discomfort.  People treat me like I am the enemy – even though Ephesians 6 clearly tells us that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood.”

It’s not like I wake up in the morning and say to myself, “How could I destroy so-and-so’s life?”  Really, I am just trying to do my best (like everyone else) to be obedient to God.

Even when I make mistakes, I’m not intentionally trying to harm others.  I don’t think most people are trying to intentionally trying to harm others.  Of course there are exceptions – which is why we have prisons.

Seriously though, as I seek to lead people closer to God, some are going to find His message a fragrant aroma.  Others are going to see it as an awful stench.  I’m really just the messenger – and if people are compelled to repentance, that is awesome.

Father God, continue to help better discern your leading.  Humble me and lead me to deeper prayer as I seek to follow you more closely.  It is a humbling and awful responsibility to lead others – cleanse me God, fill me, teach me, and purify me.

Give me clean hands and a pure heart.

I love You – and trust You.





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