October 04, 2007

Bitterness

Although I usually pretend otherwise, it would be a lie to say that there is absolutely no bitterness in regards to my resignation and impending relocation. I find it a struggle to keep that bitterness out of the things I say and do. Every sermon I preach these days requires an extra effort, to weed out any statements that might be rooted in bitterness.

On the one hand, this is easy, since the amount of love I feel still outweighs (by far) any bitterness I have. I have received so much love, support, and encouragement. Several people have even said to me, "I know that God will lead you to a church that's bigger than our little country church, so that greater numbers of people will be blessed by your talents and skills." What a wonderful thing to hear!

On the other hand, it only takes one statement, one comment, to ruin everything. Just a teaspoon of salt can make the difference between a tasty treat and a culinary catastrophe.

I've been told that I have a right to be angry. People have told me that they are angry on my behalf (which makes me wonder what they think are the reasons for my resignation). And scripture does justify my desire to simply shake the dust off my sandals in protest, and move on. However, even such a protest, I believe, needs to be rooted in love, not bitterness.

The struggle is primarily my own. There is a lot more love and support than there is ill-will. The bitterness that is within me, however small it may be, is entirely my own. I try to hide it from view, but I cannot deny its existence.

I have been treated poorly by some, but loved by many others. That seems to be par for the course for those in ministry, or any position of leadership. I know that the feelings I have are common to many pastors in transition.

The bitterness of the few is contagious. I need to build up my defenses. And the only way I know how to do that is to keep on loving.

3 comments:

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

Danny,

Having gone through much the same thing a few years back, I can truly empathize with you. I will pray that you find the healing you need and the right calling as well.

Dennis Sanders said...

Danny,

I totally hear you. I'm dealing with some anger and bitterness as well that is church-related. I will keep you in my prayers.

Brian said...

Thanks for continuing to share your journey of transition. I certain many of us who read this blog can relate. Peace to you.