If you're not on staff at a church, I want to let you in on a little secret: Sometimes, church staff members get frustrated with people. Even though our whole calling in life from the King for His Kingdom is about people, we lose sight of this and forget that - just like us - people drop the ball, forget they signed up, get their priorities out of whack, and [GASP!] sometimes....just plain flat blow it! And when this happens, and we forget the aforementioned truth of the matter, if we don't guard our hearts with humility and prayer, we turn around and do the exact same thing. Just plain flat blow it! There's one particular way that this can flesh itself out that we have to be aware of as leaders in the church. If your motive in decision making or in your actions EVER becomes to teach someone a lesson, watch out. The person who winds up suffering is rarely ever the person you're aiming at with your strategic, passive/aggressive, beating around the bush "lesson".
This can be hard for some to swallow, but even ministers, pastors, and church leaders can get so frustrated from being let down and having their hopes and expectations crushed that we actually think, "You know what: If I do THIS - or maybe don't do THAT - that'll teach'em. That'll show them what it feels like to get hosed and shafted." We can be tempted to be vindictive, vengeful, and just downright stupid. Human, I guess you could call it. But here's the problem: It's unacceptable! Tempted, sure. Everyone is. But give into it? Nope. Can't do it. Because our ministry and purpose is to be used by the Lord in the lives of PEOPLE. So if we're indirectly lining up innocent bystanders as collateral damage simply because we're trying to teach someone a lesson, we better stop dead in our tracks and think again.
If the Lord leads you to teach someone a lesson, do it eyeball to eyeball, face-to-face, with the courage to call it like it is and lovingly teach them. Matthew 18 says nothing about subversive tactical warfare strategies to indirectly communicate with a brother who's wronged us. It says to GO to them and speak the truth!
Have you been there? Do you agree? Want to teach me a lesson? More to come......