God told us to love others as much as we love ourselves. With some people, this is somewhat easy to do. With others…not so much.  The level of our relationship with others will determine our “stick-ability” when tough times come around…again.

Grumpy, bitter and opinionated “Christians” are extremely difficult to love when they show you their “best” side!  As a pastor, this has been almost impossible to deal with.  Sometimes people get disgruntled. People will be people.  We expect that.   I am one of them – people, that is (NOT grumpy, bitter and opinionated…well, maybe somewhat opinionated). Give the ministry a BIG BREAK! They are not only called by God to lead, but the juggling act that is required to manage all the pieces and parts is not as glamorous nor as easy as some tend to think.  It’s just so easy to stand on the sidelines and fire away at the one leading. And it doesn’t take any strength of character to assault others. If you are a leader, relax a little. NO, relax a lot more than you have allowed yourself to. Just stop trying so hard. It is NOT your effort that keeps people happy, it is the relationship you lead them to. If they get the relationship part, then it will work out.  If they don’t, well, here’s where the trouble starts.

Although it can be difficult as a leader, I don’t want or need any pity party.  Neither do you!  God has been good to me…good and bad times. If my season is good, He helps me to handle it in grace and humility.  In seasons of extreme adversity and opposition, God has obviously allowed it and will provide the strength and wisdom to lead me gently through.  One thing is for sure…He will NEVER leave me.  In every season, God has sustained me, because He is with me. And when those to whom I have submitted are straight with me, I will NOT leave because my feelings are hurt. If we ponder leaving, obviously, we are focusing on the easy way out. …and NO, it is not right for those in leadership to be completely insensitive.  But that is NOT what I am referring to here. Grow up in grace.

At a time when people were getting offended because He spoke straight to them, Jesus asked His disciples if they were going to stay or go right along with the crowd. Do you love me or not? If they truly loved him, they would stick with Him through the good and the bad.  Jesus even became somewhat annoying to Peter.  Three times He asked Peter if he loved Jesus. The frustration could easily be sensed in Peter’s responses.  But the important thing is that Peter was adamant about following Jesus no matter what difficulties it would potentially bring. Sure, he denied him 3 times as Jesus told him he would, but Peter did NOT leave Jesus.

God loves us so much that He will not leave us either.  Jesus promised a love so strong that not only did He die and resurrect from the dead, but He also left His disciples. WHAT?  Yes, He left themso He could come back. The era of His earthly flesh was over. He was now going away so He could come back in Spirit. His Spirit came back to live in the hearts of His people.  I LOVE the account of the Day of Pentecost in the book of Acts. It is the introduction of God’s Spirit being poured upon, into and through His people.  I am so glad God has filled me with His Spirit. There is nothing like experiencing the kind of spiritual power only found through His Spirit.  And once He fills you, He will never leave you!  Thank God for His Spirit.

So, should I stay or should I go now?