SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE

img026.jpeg.medium

OK, everybody, let’s just take a breath here and pull it back a notch.

Obviously, the response from the article “IT’S BEEN A WHILE” has been overwhelming but revealing, to say the least. What it shows me is that there are plenty of wounded people out here – mostly people who used to get along with one another.

What’s going on?

Let me say right here that any nasty comments will be edited or deleted because the object of this debate is not to hurt each other – it’s to debate, to discover, to provoke, to rethink, to reveal truth. Yeah, truth. But we must do it in a loving way.

Let’s speak the truth in love, OK?

I’ll start by saying that I was personally offended by comments about my wife and I that weren’t true. We stand accused of “tearing down our brothers and sisters,” “taking off and abandoning friends,” “being petty” and carrying out our ministry as a job or looking for a job, when none of those things could be further from truth or reality.

We have faithfully worked in local churches and overseas for more than 34 years, never expecting nor taking anything in return. Anyone who really knows us knows that we have always wanted only to serve God, our church and our brothers and sisters, here and around the world. That’s the truth, and we’ve given the best years of our lives exemplifying that truth. No one can take that away from us.

However, there came a time when we saw things coming in and taking root in our church that we felt weren’t scriptural, that were out of balance and that we had to speak up about. So we did.

The reason people think we abandoned them after 16 years is that we left quietly. We had no desire to cause a disruption in the body, because we love the people we served with for so long. The last thing we were going to do was start a campaign to defend ourselves or try to turn people against one another.

We spoke our peace behind the scenes, to the pastors and elders, and were pretty much ignored or dismissed. As an elder, I shared my heart, my dreams and my God-given vision with the pastor for more than two years – several times to the point of tears. It was very frustrating not receiving any encouragement or direction, even after asking for it, directly, eye-to-eye.

In the midst of this we saw doctrinal error and danger, and were told there was none. We saw imbalance, and heard that everything was fine. We witnessed the loss of a vision, and were instructed that the original vision came from naivete and a youthful arrogance.

We kind of liked that naivete. It smelled of faith. Of dreams. Of multiplication. Of working together toward a goal that would stretch us all to the limit, but one that would bear fruit.

So we had no choice but to leave. No fanfare. No thanks. No goodbyes.

And the explanation was left up to the pastor.

So if any of you got the impression that we abandoned you, or that anybody was blindsided, you got bad information.

Let me ask you this: If any leader of a local church leaves unexpectedly, shouldn’t that arouse some curiosity amongst those who think they’re sensitive to the Spirit of God? Shouldn’t those same people ask their leaders why these people left? What’s the real story? What’s really going on, because something just doesn’t smell right?

I think some smellers are off, because it appears that most – almost all – of our friends just believed what you were told, and didn’t bother to check with us to see if it was true. A few of you called and asked, so we told you why we left.

But it hasn’t made a difference. The error is still in the church, and it’s because most people don’t want to see it, don’t care enough to speak up or are too afraid to do so. It seems there’s so much apathy few truly care – either about us or how the church is run. And when people like us do say something, we’re misrepresented or worse.

Some of the recent comments on this blog have been harsh, and that’s because good people have been hurt by other good people. Feelings run deep, and that’s OK. I pray the discussion continues and grows, because there’s a greater discussion that demands attention, and it’s not about one local church in a small suburb of Detroit.

It’s about the condition of the Body of Christ in the western world, and the model we’re supposed to be following. It’s going to take courage to look at ourselves honestly, admit our mistakes, correct our errors, forgive one another and ultimately let the world see Jesus through our love for one another.

Maybe that love starts right here, in the midst of a painful argument, just like families sometimes do. Maybe God will use this as a starting point for aiming us all in the right direction.

Or maybe nobody will read this blog again. I don’t know.

It’s up to God, isn’t it?

What do you think?

Advertisements

Posted on September 29, 2009, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Cheers
    Christian

  2. Kathy Cristoforo

    I’m reading your blog Dennis!

    Christianity, western style is not for me. But although I have not seen you and Sharon for years, I see you are still the most true and real Christian people that I have had the joy to know. That is a joyful and comforting thought.

  3. Uncle D,

    I don’t know specifically what you have been going thru, but I do know who you guys are. To see that your going thru so much hurts. I just want you to know that I am praying for you as I know you are for me. It is a devestating thing to the body of Christ when a hurt or offense occurs and is not dealt with properly. So I just want to encourage you two to keep doing what your doing. Serving God, living in His truth, seeking out His word, having a heart for the hurting and acting in love.
    God’s mercy and His love will carry us thru if we let it and all things work together for the good of those who love Him. So even though we might not see the answers, we must continue to trust that our Heavenly Father has those answers and He will always provide what we need.

  4. Dennis,
    One thing my pastor has always said that if he says something or does something that is out of line with the bible to please come talk to him. I would hope that any and all pastors would take that stance. WE are all still human and misspeak or do things that may not have been our intent. Isn’t the body called to do this, to exhort as well as encourage? So often the body gets to comfortable and stops doing all of that. No one wants to be convicted of things they are doing wrong any more. That unfortunately is a foot hold Satan has on many Christians. “You don’t need to change!” “Who are those people…don’t they remember judge not lest ye be judged?” I may not always like it when brothers or sisters have had to point out the plank in my eye but fortunately, the holy spirit comes in and does show me the truth. I love that He wants to continually shape and mold me. I know that what you and your wife are going through is challenging on many levels and He is preparing you for the next thing He is going to use you for. It may be through here that He is going to use you. Keep speaking. One of the things I love about you is that you will speak God’s truths with love. May you continue to walk that path and just keep trusting in Him, especially when it hurts the most.

  5. Speak the Truth in Love is great. Thank God that we as human beings are free to do that – sometimes at great threat to our lives and the lives of our families, even to the point of death.
    It’s incredible that God has always allowed us that freedom. And He will be with us to provoke us continually to seek His truth in all things.
    Thank you for whatever part you are playing, to help reveal this basic right He paid such a great price to give to all.

  6. D,
    I start out by saying to everyone who may have been offended by my words that I am sorry and I hope you can forgive me. As the above blog states, feelings run deep and on a personal level my wife was verbally attacked by a pastor in the same church that is referenced above. When a person in leadership was told about it, they denied that it was true and said no way, that would never happen.
    So, my wife’s tears and feelings were dismissed as untrue, and what now, that makes her a lier.
    You see, when good people hurt good people, its still hurt and it cant be dismissed as untrue. The larger issue here is that ‘pastors’ are not accountable for their own actions.
    I will say that the pastor that did this had the courtesy to call my wife after the incident to apologize. But that did not take away the hurt and the surprise that this behavior would come from a respected pastor.
    This is just one comment about one incident. I am sure that the ones on this blog that have posted harsher words have been hurt over and over and over. Or may have seen their parents hurt over and over.
    This is not a petty discussion, this is the state of the Western church as D said. It has become an exclusive industry instead of an inclusive fellowship.
    As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord. And believe me, that does NOT include serving another man again.
    You know, its been THREE times now that I personally have been ‘burned’ … or as my friend likes to say ‘singed’ by an ‘organized’ church.
    When will I learn?
    Again, I would like to say, my words that may have been offensive to some come from deep passion to see healthy groups of people who follow the WAY. To see them IN THE WORLD not in a man made sub-culture of feel good religion.

    I close with this, my wife was a Deacon and only got a call from two on the board.
    I find it hard to believe that these people who called themselves ‘our’ friends ever ‘really’ cared.
    In reality, I have been hurt so many times that my skin is thick and I never underestimate how un-feeling people can be. But I will tell you this, my wife cried tears for months by the lack of concern or ever a simple HELLO, I was thinking of you.
    Peace be unto the God of Abraham
    Peace be unto you

  7. Dennis:

    First let me say that I think the work that you have done for God in your training and sending of people all over the world to spread the Gospel is wonderful.

    If you saw something that was unscriptural and out of balance, you did the right thing to speak your mind. If the pastor and elders don’t see it, pray for them.

    Also I know you did the right thing by leaving quietly, the last thing we ever want to do is to start divide in the church.

    It also does seem to me that in to many churches today the focus is all about what God can do for us.

    I thought that HE all ready did that on the cross, what I want to know today is, what can I do for HIM.

    Here I am Lord, I pray that you will use me today, for Your Name, for Your Glory and for Your Kingdom.

    God Bless You My Brother.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: