I was dying.
DYING in my seat.
This was a while ago and I can’t even remember the guy’s name, but he was a pastor. Who graduated from Bible college and all that.
And he literally filled the room with something that he claimed was the gospel, but was FAR from it.
He seemed arrogant.
He bragged about “saving people” (as though that were actually possible for us to do. Don’t even get me started)
During his message he did this thing where he would say something and then take a dramatic pause to drive the point home.
In one of those long, awkward pauses, he literally LOCKED EYES WITH ME, as though he were saying, Aren’t you getting it? I’m awesome and you’re terrible. You filthy sinner you.
And then closed the message with a harsh dose of, how many people have you saved lately?
That’s how I felt.
Just simply FANTASTIC after that message.
Sure made me want to grab the next person I saw and strong arm them into a prayer to go to heaven. (that’s me being sarcastic btw)
I was mad.
REALLY REALLY MAD.
I grabbed my stuff and was like, I am outta here.
But, then the Holy Spirit stopped me.
He told me to write the pastor a check.
I about fell over.
I was like, WHAT?!? I am not giving anything to that man’s ministry. He is TERRIBLE!!!
The Lord told me again to give him a check (with a specific amount that I was pretty uncomfortable with I might add)
I grumbled and muttered as I shuffled my stuff (mommas always carry a ton of stuff. It’s pretty convenient when you’re trying to look busy but are actually just having a wrestling match with God inside your head. Am I crazy???? *sigh*)
I was totally avoiding what I knew the Holy Spirit was telling me to do.
Eventually, I caved.
He always wins.
I was like, FINE.
Then God said this,
When you give him the check, you’re going to ask if you can pray for him. And then you’re going to tell him about Todd White.
For those who don’t know Todd White’s message it’s all about teaching the gospel, or should I say, LIVING the gospel. Which is QUITE DIFFERENT than shoving a sinner’s prayer down someone’s throat. It’s actually living like Jesus…ahhh so good.
So, I waited until no one was talking to him and I approached him.
It’s amazing how quickly my tone changed. As soon as I knew that THIS person was who I WAS SUPPOSED TO SHARE THE LOVE OF JESUS WITH THAT DAY, everything changed.
Boy, that’ll preach.
Anyway, so this person who I was flaming irritated with 10 minutes ago, I was pouring love out to like crazy in the middle of this church hallway.
I then asked if I could pray for him.
He seemed annoyed like, Who me? I don’t need prayer, sweetie. I’m perfect, remember?
Normal Anna would have bristled at that attitude instantly. But, I’m not kidding you, Jesus was POURING out of me.
It literally did not bother me.
Not a bit.
So, I asked again.
Reluctantly, he agreed.
And, people, I PRAYED.
Like prophetically and stuff.
It was SO NOT ME.
It was SOOOO JESUS.
Afterwards, he became kinda rigid and just walked away.
Didn’t say thank you or anything.
But then, I knew it was time to deliver the Todd White message (yay!!)
So, I stopped him and gave him the check. Along with the check was a note telling him about Todd White.
Again, not thankful.
Not even nice.
BUT, that SO wasn’t the point.
I was humbled that day.
Somehow the idea seemed easier to go into a strip club and minister than it did for me to love on that pastor.
And that gripped me.
Like a dagger to the heart.
Sweet pastor if you happen to read this, please forgive me for being critical. Please forgive me for judging and viewing you differently than any other human. I’m a mess. We’re ALL a living mess.
What the Lord showed me that day is that He wants to reach that pastor just as much as he does the women I met in the strip club.
(If that totally messes with your theology, I’m sorry, but not sorry. Because, listen, we are ALL in need of Jesus. Strippers, pastors, moms, dads, you name it. We are ALL a wreck without him. My diatribe is now done) 🙂
Jesus LOVES him.
He wants to completely wreck him with freedom.
He wants him to know how GOOD the gospel actually is.
If we’re going to see change happen in the body, it won’t start with you (or me) criticizing or slandering pastors (although at times you might very well want to).
We have to walk like Jesus.
Even to those in leadership who we don’t agree with.
Even to those we perceive are failing.
In a recent blog, by Carlos Rodriguez called, The 47 Most Important Resolutions For Christian Millennials, the top three on his list are:
- End the prosperity gospel.
- Stop criticizing those in the prosperity gospel. (Or anybody else in the Body of Christ.)
- Figure out how to do 1 and 2 at the same time, honorably.
Although, the pastor I encountered wasn’t preaching the prosperity gospel, he was preaching the wear-yourself-out-trying-to-get-people-to-pray-a-sinner’s-prayer-and-God-will-like-you-gospel, the same message applies.
(Great article btw)
I was praying recently and the whole thing came back to my memory.
I sat down and cried.
I repented for my judgy attitude.
I began to pray for that pastor.
And for every church who has been taught a similar message.
If you have a pastor who you are mad at or have been wounded by, PLEASE pray for them.
Pray, pray, pray.
My heart is broken for the church. For the one that doesn’t know anything other than religion. The one that thinks God is keeping score and is constantly looking for perfect behavior. The one that believes our value is based on how many people we “save”.
Oh church, sweet church.
He is SO much better.
God loves you. He is for you. He isn’t keeping score. He is righteous because he knows you aren’t. Your value to Him is SO MUCH MORE than your good “works”. He wants you to live in freedom. To live filled with the Holy Spirit, so your life preaches his gospel of love, mercy and freedom. It’s intoxicating. It’s why those in the Bible who really got to know him, couldn’t say no.
This is the love He has for everyone. From strippers to pastors. And we are called to walk in that love just the same.