Well, this has been pretty eye opening for me!! I’ve read this section of scripture a thousand times as well as used it, taught it, judged men and women through it, but I NEVER lined my life up with it in complete openness and honesty. It’s been painful and freeing at the same time. I will NEVER be the same again and for that I thank God!!!!! There are 2 left and I’m going to try and get them done today and then my last post from this section will be addressing the area of “after testing the man/woman……”
14. People outside the church must speak well of him. – Well this one I kind of touched on in an earlier post. As a pastor some people just naturally speak bad about you, they despise you, want to see you fall, in some cases just plain hate you. Well we know that they hate Jesus not the pastor……with this thought in mind here are my thoughts of ME and how people spoke of me.
For the most part most people spoke well of me but over the years I had people that did not for good reason. Most of any negative talk about me that was TRUE would be tied to financial things, someone I owed money to or maybe I lied to get out of a situation, or did something to cause someone to distrust me………there were people that spoke bad of me and some had reason the others who just DO because I’m a pastor means nothing, EXCEPT they are waiting for a man to fall and when I did it gave them more hate and more proof that it’s all a game and a scam to take people, control people etc….
So when someone would speak bad of me EVEN if they were correct I would always use the “because I’m a pastor etc…” and make myself look good to the people around me and basically call them a lair and stirring up trouble, would say things alike “they will have to stand before God one day…..” just writing this is bringing tears to my eyes. There are a few that I can remember but there is one that I will share with you….
About 15 years ago I was in an accident, I did not see the car in front of me stop and I slammed into him going about 40 miles an hour. My airbags activated, Beckie was with me and I’m sure she remembers well. The car I hit had a man and his little girl….. they were thrown around pretty hard and but seemed to be OK, badly shaken though. I believe his daughter went to the hospital just to make sure she was ok. I did not have insurance on my car at the time for whatever reason…. a few days later the man called me and I told him I was a pastor in town and things were hard, my insurance had lapsed and would take care of his car personally…. he said he wanted to think about it. A few days later he called me and said it’s been a very hard decision for him, all of his friends told him to turn me in and I would lose my license and he could sue me along with a few other things. He said that he sat in front of our house one night trying to decide what to do and ended up deciding NOT to turn me in and ruin my life, he was a believer and didn’t want to hurt a man of God and his family. I thanked him a hundred times telling him over and over again that God would bless him. We worked out the details of how much I would pay him to fix his car etc……… as the weeks passed, they turned into months and then years………. I never saw or heard from him again.
To this day this story hurts but today even more. I don’t know who he is, what is name is or where he even lives but I’m sure he remembers mine and I’m SURE he does not talk well of me nor has an once of respect for me. I’m sure his family and friends laughed at him for being such a “nice guy” to the man of God and all of them did not talk well of me…..One of the reoccurring prayers that I have in my life and especially the last year is that we would meet up one day, run into one another one day and I could ask him to forgive me…. this makes me cry 😦
As a pastor/elder we need to live our lives above reproach, open, honest. IF you live any part of your life in the flesh, if you have any hidden things in your life that are not taken before the Lord, I if you are NOT resting 100% of the time and 100% of your life in Jesus it will come out and it will be exposed.
Now my entire life was not this way, I did many good things, helped many people and had respect from many people……….but IF they saw things like this in my life…. well?
Why did Paul pen this? People hate Jesus and they always will, as a MAN OF GOD we cannot give them another reason, we represent JESUS, we are his hands, feet, mouth……..if he really transforms people, if he really changes people, if there really is a life of holiness to be lived…….if people on the community speak bad of you/me there is probably a reason!!!
15. He must live with a clear conscience. – By now I know and anyone reading this knows there is NO way that I lived with a clear conscience! Why must a Pastor live with a clear conscience? There is NO way that one can be 100% effective, 100% connected to the Father if not. Without a clear conscience a man is living a LIE, living with sin that has not been confessed and given over to the Lord, living in un-forgiveness, will always have to be looking over his shoulder.
This ONE thing right here will tell the entire story of a man…….. the question is how do you test him on this? How do you know if a man has a clear conscience?
OK — HERE IS THE SECTION OF SCRIPTURE that I’m going to talk about in my next post to wrap this up and then it’s on to Chapter 4!!
10 Before they are appointed as deacons, let them be closely examined. If they pass the test, then let them serve as deacons.
I am writing these things to you now, even though I hope to be with you soon, 15 so that if I am delayed, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth.