A gracEmail subscriber writes that his minister is very knowledgeable but he is sometimes mean and rude to anyone who crosses him or gets in his way. To make matters worse, no one seems bold enough to confront the preacher about his destructive attitude and manners. Can I offer any counsel?
* * *
All who follow Christ are called to imitate the Savior in his humility, gentleness and self-restraint as in other godly traits (Matt. 11:29; Phil. 2:1-8; 1 Pet. 2:21-23). Knowledge can be useful, but without love it feeds arrogance and amounts to nothing. By contrast, love builds people up spiritually and does not tear them down (1 Cor.8:1; 13:2-7). We must ruthlessly examine ourselves regarding these matters because it is easy to be self-deceived. Our culture (and sometimes our educational institutions) make us suppose that “gray matter” is more valuable than good manners, and that principles have higher priority than people. Those notions contradict the teaching and the example of the Son of God and we must reject them with all our might.
Spiritual maturity shows itself by the Spirit’s fruit — including love, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). Christian preachers specifically “must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, patient when wronged” (2 Tim. 2:24). Spiritual overseers must not be “self-willed, not quick-tempered, not pugnacious, but sensible, devout, self-controlled” (Titus 1:7-8). These are not optional considerations. They are apostolic requirements for any who seek or accept leadership among Christ’s people. There is no excuse for God’s servant to be mean or rude — especially when doing the work of God.
Your preacher is human, just like the rest of us. Like us, he is also a sinner. Like us, he cannot transform himself by his own power. That is why we talk about “the fruit of the Spirit.” I encourage you to pray for your minister, asking God to supernaturally change his heart, melt his harsh manners and let the Spirit of Christ transform him from the inside. Only God can change any of us sinners. But when it comes to changing people for the better, God is a pro. Please start praying daily for this servant of God — then watch what God might do.