Is God Using Me To Expose My Leader's Sins?


For seven years I served full-time in the ministry of helps and pastored youth before God released my wife and me to our present ministry. While I was a youth pastor, there was a man who did not like me or the message I preached. Normally that would not bother me, but this man had a position of authority over me.

I believed God had told me to bring a strong word of purity and boldness to the young people, and his son was in my group.

Conviction was stirring in this young man's heart. One day he came to us crying. He was upset because he felt the lifestyle he saw at home fell short of what I was challenging him and the other young people to follow.

This incident and other personality conflicts seemed to make his father determined to get rid of me. He would go to the head pastor to stir his anger against me with false accusations. Then he would turn around and tell me how the senior pastor was against me but that he was standing up for me. There were assorted critical staff memos, none which bore my name, but they identified me in other ways. He would smile to my face, but his intention was to destroy me.

Several members of the youth group said they had heard I was to be fired. It was this man's son spreading the news, not in a malicious way, but just because he was repeating what he'd heard at home. I was angry and confused. I went to this man, and he admitted saying this, but he said he was just repeating the senior pastor's thoughts.

Months went by, and there seemed to be no way to alleviate the situation. He had even severed all contact between my senior pastor and me. This was not only the case for me but for all the pastors that were not in his favor.

My family was under constant pressure, never knowing whether we would remain at the church or be put out. We had bought a house, my wife was pregnant, and we had nowhere to go. I did not want to send out resumes. I believed God had brought me to that church, and I was staying with no plan B.

My wife was a nervous wreck. "Honey I know they are going to fire you. Everyone is telling me they are."

"They didn't hire me, and they can't fire me without God's approval," I told her. She thought I was denying the circumstances and begged me to quit.

Finally the news came that the decision to fire me had been made. The senior pastor announced to the church that changes were coming to the youth group. I still had not spoken with him about the conflict with the leader he had put over me. I was scheduled to meet with him and that man the next day. God very specifically impressed upon me not to defend myself.

When I met with my pastor the next day I was surprised to find the pastor sitting alone in his office. He looked at me and said, "John, God sent you to this church. I am not letting you go."

I was relieved. God had protected me at the last moment. "Why is this man after you?" He asked me. "Please go to him and make it right between you and him." Shortly after that meeting I received written evidence of a decision the leader had made regarding my area of responsibility. It exposed his true motives. I was ready to take it to the senior pastor.

That day I paced the floor and prayed for forty-five minutes, trying to overcome the uncomfortable feeling I had. I kept saying, "God, this man has been dishonest and wicked. He must be exposed. He is a destructive force in this ministry. I must tell the pastor the way he really is!"

I further justified my intentions to expose him. "Everything I am reporting is fact and documented, not emotional. If he is not stopped, his wickedness will infiltrate this entire church."

Finally, in frustration, I blurted out, "God, You don't want me to expose him, do You?"

When I spoke those words, the peace of God flooded my heart. I shook my head in amazement. I knew God did not want me to do anything, so I threw away the evidence. Later, when I could look at the scene more objectively I realized I had wanted to avenge myself more than protect anyone in the ministry. I had reasoned myself into believing my motives were unselfish. My information was accurate, but my motives were impure.

Time passed, and one day as I was praying outside the church before office hours, the man drove up to the church. God impressed upon me to go to him and humble myself. Immediately I was defensive. "No, Lord, he needs to come to me. He is the one causing all the problems."

I continued to pray, but again the Lord insisted that I go to him immediately and humble myself. I knew it was God. I phoned him from my office and went to his. But what I said and how I said it was much different from how it would have been if God hadn't dealt with me.

With all sincerity I asked his forgiveness. "I have been critical and judgmental of you," I confessed.

He immediately softened, and we talked for an hour. From that day forward his attacks against me stopped, even though a problem continued between him and some of the other pastors.

Six months later, while I was ministering out of the country, all the wrong this man had done was exposed to the senior pastor. It had nothing to do with me but with other areas of the ministry. What he was doing was much worse than what I knew. He was fired immediately.

Judgment had come, but not by my hand. The very thing he tried to do to me happened to him. However, when it happened to him, I was not happy. I grieved for him and his family. I understood his pain-I had gone through it myself at his hands. Because I had forgiven him six months previously, I now loved him and did not wish this for him. If he had been fired when I was angry with him a year earlier, I would have rejoiced. I knew then I was truly free from the offense I'd harbored. Humility and refusing to avenge myself were the keys that freed me from my prison of offense.

A year later I saw him in an airport. I was overwhelmed with the love of God. I ran over to where he was standing and hugged him. I was genuinely happy when he told me things were well with him. If I had never gone to him and humbled myself months earlier in his office, I wouldn't have been able to look him in the eye that day at the airport. Several years have passed since I've seen him, but I feel only love and a sincere desire to see him in God's will.

Bevere, John. The Bait of Satan. Lake Mary, Florida, Charisma House, 1997, p. 40-43 www.charismahouse.com

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