Because I am a pastor people confide in me. They tell me things; private, confidential, embarrassing, and burdensome things.
Sometimes they tell me because they are looking for advice – counsel from God’s word. Other times they are just looking for a safe place to vent. Maybe they just need to articulate their thoughts and they’re looking for a sounding board. Very often they just desperately need someone to listen without judging. Often they are actively seeking prayer support. I think that occasionally they tell me “shocking” things just to gauge my reaction.
That’s cool. Cause I love people and because that’s my job. It is my honor to serve others in this way.
But here’s the thing I’ve been thinking about recently.
These folks who carry insufferable burdens, or horrible secrets or stressful inner conflicts – they all look so normal. You could be sitting next to them in church or chat it up with them out in the lobby – and never know what they were dealing with. For all intents and purposes they look and act very normal.
And yet they are dying on the inside.
Because this is true, it serves as a good reminder to me to:
- Treat each person I meet with kindness and patience.
- Not rush to judgment when others do display odd fits of anger or sullenness or rudeness.
- Pray that my church family will have the courage to reach out to someone when they are struggling.
Because you just never know what a person might be dealing with.
“…so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans 12:5