Sowing Discord

During the years I invested in the pastoral ministry, there was one occasion when some parents in the church brought their teenage daughter to me. She was pressuring them to let her participate in some high school activities for seniors that made them feel uncomfortable. It was clear that this young lady was exercising her young wings and pushing for more independence. It was also obvious that no matter what her parents said or did, short of putting her in handcuffs and jail, this young girl was going to follow through with her outspoken plans.

These distraught parents came to me as their pastor and asked me to talk to their daughter, hoping I could persuade her differently. I sat them down and said as lovingly and as firmly as I could, "I am willing to talk to your daughter but I doubt she will even listen." You may think I wasn't exercising my faith or encouraging these troubled but there was a deeper problem involved. I had watched these people indiscriminately sow seeds of discord in the congregation year after year. They had not instilled in their children any level of respect for the difficult task of a pastor, because they had little respect themselves. I knew their table talk at supper time at home was highly critical of all ministry, not just my own as their pastor.

When I told them, "I'll do what I can, but I don't think it will help," they asked, "Why?" I said to them, "You haven't trusted me and I'm afraid you've already sown seeds of distrust in your own daughter." Sure enough, the observation. Was true. I was unable to persuade her. When they needed me and my authority as a minister of the gospel. I was willing, but I was unable to help because they had already established a foundation of rebellion and scorn toward spiritual authority.

Very often when we allow unity to be destroyed on one level-for instance, in the local church-we are surprised when it affects the unity on another level. Those well-intentioned but misguided people had sown discord in their local church only to reap that discord in the life of their own daughter.

Tenney, Tommy. God's Dream Team. Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1999, p. 83-84.

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