Monday, March 09, 2009

Cards People Play

I believe that there are a number of absolutely meaningless conversations that we should noty be involved in because…you can never win! What I have learned is that one cannot waste time arguing or even attempting to try to defend yourself (especially as a pastor) when it comes to certain accusations or claims. These topics will always exist in the church community but again, we should not waste our time with them. So allow me to introduce some conversations that I simply just avoid!
The Pride Card!
This is when people accuse you (me) of being full of pride or of just being arrogant….Now, I am all for people speaking into my life and give a few people permission to do so to rebuke and confront me when necessary, HOWEVER, when I hear this accusation it is usually in a time of vision casting especially to the direction of our community and some people just aren’t able to deal with it. I am convinced that a confident leader (and there are many in our city) will always be perceived by those who do not like the direction set or are not personally catered too in the decision making process, will make the accusation that the leader is full of pride. When someone tells you that you are full of pride, you simply cannot refute them–you just can’t, so don’t even try! Just walk away.
For me, what really adds to the fire is when people who are not even a part of our community begin to shoot down GOD’s direction for our community and when you refuse to give them an ear…you are considered arrogant! Whatever….walk way.
The Depth Card!
This card used to really bother me whenever it was played. I am a passionate person (contrary to popular misbelief) and my responsibility is to be faithful to my GOD and to be consumed with what he has place inside my heart. I have always attempted to show people just how real and even practical the scriptures are and when someone would tell me “you are not deep enough” it used to crush me, and get me into a Lou Ferrigno fit! I actually began looking at the type of people who play this card and realized that they were usually someone who was more obsessed with information but really cared little about transformation. Although I highly discourage engaging any conversation with people who play this card, there is one question you can ask before the conversation is over and it is… “Can you define ‘DEEP’ for me?” The response that you will get is usually a blank stare and a lot of “ummmmmms.” If I can make a judgment call here (oh, that word just sent a few of you off!): Many people who play the “deep card” are (READ CAREFULLY) actively doing nothing for Christ. They think that the more they know, the more like Christ they are becoming. If you think about it, Satan knows more about Christ…but he doesn’t follow through on what he knows.
So, the person who knows what they should be doing, but suppresses that by saying they want to go “deeper” and know more; aren’t they actually becoming more like Satan! (It is just a joke…relax). I have to realize that if people are not satisfied with the “depth” of my preaching or teaching, then I just have to be OK with that and also realize that most of us are educated way beyond our level of obedience! We can spend our entire life trying to impress those already in the Kingdom with our knowledge…what’s the point with that? Walk away.
The Discipleship Card!
Ask someone to define what making a disciple is and they will usually respond with a blank stare. Should we want to grow in our faith? Without question. Should the church provide an atmosphere for this to take place? Without question, however it is not the church's job to MAKE people grow, but rather to provide the environment for it. What I find bothersome are the accusations that the church doesn’t disciple. This is usually an accusation from someone who isn’t discipling anyone themselves and simply loves to sit around and complain about what they perceive to be the problem. Finally this person usually throws the argument out there like, “I’m not being fed!” Which actually is a reflection of their pitiful spiritual condition! I can understand if you are a baby...but even my preteens know enough to go to the fridge on thier own to get some food. Enough said….walk away.
The God Card!
This is when people say that God “told” them to do something, or said something to them and many times…you just happen to be involved in this conversation without your knowledge. Really?! How can anyone move beyond that card? So, if God is speaking to you, should He not also be speaking to me or the others that are involved in this conversation? I am of the mind that when GOD speaks to an individual it is purely subjective. It is a personal conversation between you and Him. However, if you are going to bring that conversation up to other people (publically) then at that point it is open to questioning; after all 1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to “Test everything. Hold on to the good.” So in the process of testing, we should have the ability to question what you believe God told you? If it concerns me or someone else, should we not also be hearing the same thing from God? If we are not, maybe it was the pizza and cucumbers from the night before 'speaking' to you? Unfortunately, many people use the God Card like a trump card…and you just cannot argue or win or even have an intelligent conversation with someone who plays it. So, when someone tells me “God told” them…I usually stand there and smile and realize that chances are, the conversation is over and I walk away.
Those are my thoughts! Do I really want to hear yours?


Scott said...

Great post! I am guilty of arguing for the sake of arguing. I would attribute that to the Pride card.

I think there is another card I could create.

The Balance Card! (Joker Card Perhaps?)

These are two types or arguments here. For one side of the Balance Card there is people who know everything about the Bible, they can quote you to no end verses and stories and all of this. Their subsequent knowledge leads to intimidation, especially if one does not know as much as they do. When it comes to life however, they do not apply this knowledge, and fall short of what the Word actually says. Think JW. Seriously, ever tried arguing with one?

The other side of this card is the people who know nothing about knowledge; the Bible. They however have no problem acting it out rather well. I am reading a devotional by Greg Laurie. He states about these types, "But whom do they actually serve?" This particular mentality will argue that their actions speak louder then words, yet those actions don't mimic God's Word. Think Pentecostals (ouch!) (I was a member at a P church)

I imagine you could create a card for every type of person, we are not perfect. We have our own ways. We try and work within those ways, yet God has our ways perfected for us, no work needed. I struggle, we all do. There have been and will be times in my life where people will walk away from me. I will walk away from people. For me right now, trying to not only align myself with God and his will, and balancing those word and deed, is a tough task. However, it is a necessary one to live a life with God correctly.

Karl said...

Great post. I have been on the receiving end of a lot of these cards and no doubt on the giving side more than once.

The question this raises is why? Is it insecurity? The fear that others may get more out of their relationship with God?

One other thing that strikes me is the fact that believers have no probems attacking one another all to make sure that others aren't "deceived". Yet they refuse to speak about things that really matter.

Kristy said...

Pastor...have you had to do a lot of walking away in ministry? Perhaps this is a strategy I should have implemented earlier in ministry to save some stress and breath.

The God card is like the gold card...people think it is solid, pure, and valuable...not always when man gets in the way.

Also, if believers spent less time criticising and more time being constructive the kingdom would expand exponentially. My prayer is that maturity would come into the Church, and that more time and energy would be spent on the lost, because a negative inward forcus will only cause decay.

SoulPastor said...


I, like you, probably should have walked away more often. I like a good scrap at times. I think that might be the testosterone in me.

This is something that I am learning more of but also something that I am trying to teach others. As someone once said...this is helpful advice for those who "don't know how or when to disengage."

novice said...

I think that if you are in any ministry position long enough you will have all of these cards played on you at one time or another.

I don't think that the scraps we get into in the church are often that different from the ones we get into outside the church - it's just that our ammo is far more personal and devastating. I think that's why it is so hard to walk away.

Thanks for this post. I do not find it easy to walk away but you give some strong reasons for it that I will try to remember the next time I see a conversation going that direction.

RosalieG said...

I hate the "pride" card. That is a cheap shot, and is usually thrown in such a way as to slice a person at the ankles.

That card is used to keep people down, and works against the advancement of the Kingdom work.

If a person has a pride problem, I think God should be the one to reveal it in their conscience.

She... said...

This post resonated with me. Each time I start second-guessing myself about whether I am doing the "Christian thing" when walking away, something like this post comes accross my path.

As with other posts, I don't necessarily agree with the tone. However, my exposure to the types of persons you're posting about is most likely far *far* less. Maybe if I had to walk away as often, my tone would sound the same also.

It seems like the right choice. Do you think one ever gets to the point where they're confident enough in the decision to walk away where the logic sounds more like 'logic' than it does 'reaction?'

I hope so.

Anonymous said...

Regarding God telling a person something, I believe God can tell a person something about their own situation and have it line up with his word, without revealing the same thing to the other person. For example, two believers can be in business together. If one of the believers routinely conducts themselves in a nonChristlike manner which is jeopardizing the business, and the other partner tells them but they choose not to listen, God may tell the person to release them and find a new business partner, without revealing that to the other partner. I believe there are exceptions...

SoulPastor said...

I agree with you...but it is not what the post is saying.