I’m not one to judge. I know, just saying that makes me sound like I am as judgemental as they come. I promise though, I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt as often as I can.
We are told that we’ll be known by our fruit. Good brings good fruit and bad brings bad…you know. I am not a judgemental person but I know what I like to call “stinky fruit” when I see it. As I said I don’t go around looking for such fruit. I was recently presented, however, with an opportunity to see some “stinky fruit” in action.
As my wife and I sat in a coffee shop this weekend I heard someone across the room begin to talk about a ministry in town. They were referencing a church that everyone here would recognize and speaking openly about some leadership there. They were discussing a lack of sincerity and “likely moral issues” concerning these people. I sat there overhearing this and started to boil. I was frustrated anyway but the thing that sent me over the edge was when one of them started referencing his own youth ministry.
Until he mentioned his ministry, their conversation led me to believe they were hurt by the church at some point or just non believing skeptics. I was frustated by what they were saying before, but finding out he was a youth minister took me from giving them the benifit of the doubt to just being what I would considerto be righteously angry.Being afraid of confrontation,I never said anything to them about it. I wish I would have now. I consider myself a peer since we’re both ministers an I wonder if I should have walked over to him and said “hey man I overheard what you were sayingabout “church name” and I think it may have been a bit inappropriate. Especially for a “minister” in a public setting. I’m sure if you have a problem with someone there they’d be glad to talk through it with you. I know I would rather be talked to than talked about. Anyway, God bless you guys.”
Maybe thatwould have been a bad idea. I don’t know. What I do know is that I NEVER want to cause someone to feel the way that conversation made me feel. I’m going to watch what I assume, think, and especially say about people, minister or not.
I didn’t say anything to them but I was inspired to pray for the ministry they were speaking of. So I prayed that God would bless and protect them and their families and that talk about them like I heard that night would never “get back to them.”
Please think about the conversations you have. Please pray for those you are tempted to speak negatively of.
Have you ever experienced what I did at the coffee shop?
What makes you “righteously angry?”
Has conversation about you like this ever “gotten back to you?”
Tell me about it in the comments.
Author: Michael Prince
Michael Prince co-authored “What’s in Your Pocket? A parent’s guide to protecting your children online.” with his wife Melinda. They have four kids and live in an RV anywhere in the USA they see the need for an internet safety expert. Michael is leading the conversation in the American Church about family online security. He and Melinda founded BecauseFamily, a ministry that exists to inspire and equip parents to be the first influence in the lives of their children, in 2013. Michael is also a geek and loves Star Wars, Doctor Who, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and strategy board games.