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FROM THE PULPIT: You are not alone — seek counsel and guidance

Some time ago, a pastor told me he was having a bad day. He had just learned of the death of a good friend and the news left him stunned.

The deacons in the church were arguing among themselves about a matter that should have been a no–brainer, but their wrangling could potentially split the church.

The budget was in trouble because contributions were falling off, and membership was dwindling slowly but surely.

The pressures weighed heavily on the pastor, causing a sour frame of mind to envelop him.

There was a knock on the church office door. He ignored it. A short time later the knock came again, more insistent. He ignored it again.

The knock came a third time, louder and even more insistent. Irritated, the pastor flew out of his chair, and threw open the office door.

Before him stood what may have been a homeless person, or someone down on his luck. The man appeared somewhat weathered, had endless tattoos that were revealed by his T–shirt and shorts, his smile exposed gold–covered teeth, commonly called a grill.

The pastor said in a not–so–pleasant tone, “You certainly are insistent. What do you need?”

The man smiled and said, “How are you today?” The pastor replied brusquely, not telling the truth, “I’m fine. What do you need?”

The man hesitated a moment, trying to appear friendly. But he was taken aback by the pastor’s short and somewhat hostile tone of voice, and simply replied, “Uh, nothing, nothing,” and then walked away.

A while later the pastor sat in his study reflecting on what had transpired. He realized his abruptness with the man at the door was because of his own internal turmoil.

The unexpressed grief over the death of his friend, pressures of a divided church board, unhappy members leaving the church, all came to a head.

The gentleman at the door was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and became the recipient of the pastor’s outburst – misdirected as it was.

This pastor told me that if he came across the gentleman to whom he was so rude, he would definitely apologize and seek forgiveness. I don’t know if he saw him again, but knowing the pastor as I do, I’m sure he would have followed through.

It happens, doesn’t it? There are times we tend to let pressures build up until they come out in hurtful ways. This is why it is important to not be so private that we cannot talk with others to help lighten our burdens, gain a different perspective, and deal appropriately with matters at hand. The apostle Paul said, “Be angry, but do not sin.” (Ephesians 4:26)

Yes, put it all in perspective. Seek the counsel of a good friend. Seek guidance and comfort from the Lord and the scriptures. You are not alone, no matter what anyone else might tell you.

Mark Broadhead

The Rev. Mark Broadhead is pastor at Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview.

This article originally appeared on Crestview News Bulletin: FROM THE PULPIT: You are not alone — seek counsel and guidance