Counselors Reflect on Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp
A Series to Care for the Care Takers of God’s People
“Although my friend wasn’t overtly dismissive, he didn’t really listen. . . He was a very approachable guy who was at the same time very skilled at failing to heed the warnings that God was giving him through faithful members of the body of Christ. (p. 37)”
Appeasement is one that nods to change but has no intentions of making any.
Notice first that Tripp said his friend wasn’t “overtly dismissive.” Sometimes our silence is just as non-compliant as if we gave an emphatic “No!” We attempt to hide our rebellion underneath benign gestures. We wouldn’t dare show outright disregard for what we know is right and what is done in love. So we mask our true intentions behind apparent agreement. Children do this all the time. You tell them to stop doing one thing. They agree, at least on the surface. And then a few minutes later they do it again. The parent has the choice of either repeating themselves, Raising their voice to add strength to their instruction, or not saying anything and let their child suffer the consequences.
It’s harder for pastors and church leaders to heed instruction. Partly because they are accustomed to being the one giving direction. Other times it is harder to believe something is true unless they first see it for themselves. And most times because their security crumbles at the slightest criticism.
Jesus told us a story about a wise man who built his house on rock And a foolish man who built his house on sand. He likened the wise man to the one who hears His instructions and does them versus the foolish man who hears and does not obey. The wise man who built his house on a solid foundation would be able to withstand the trouble that life threw at him. The foolish man who built his house on an unstable foundation would have his life uprooted and easily carried away by the adversity.
Notice the house that remains standing is the one whose security has been threatened. Do we see that it is through loving admonition that our foundations are made stronger? Do we allow others to question the materials we are using to build our house? That to build our own house our own way is set ourselves up to be blown away.
Proverbs 10:17 says, “Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.”
Do we truly believe that a fuller more stable and healthy life in Christ is developed through others reproof? To try and do life by yourself, left solely to your own choices, leads to one’s demise. We all need help. But notice what this verse says as well. When we reject reproof we lead others astray. A pastor’s primary responsibility is to shepherd; to protect, provide and to direct. If we can’t lead well we cannot pastor well. Our unwillingness to receive instruction impairs our ability to give it.
As Dr. Tripp pointed out the body of Christ is faithful. That is they are dependable and trustworthy. This is true whether their comments are on the more encouraging or critical side. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend and profuse are the kisses of the enemy” says Proverbs. When we can only hear compliments and not critiques it indicates that our identity is unstable and fragile. Jesus’ brother James says we should not only be hearers of God’s word but doers. Do we hear God’s people as reliable communicators of His word? Can we say that we follow Christ when we don’t trust his faithful witnesses?
Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry By Paul David Tripp / Crossway Books & Bibles