By Rhansyl Harris
Offense is one of the biggest enemies of the church. No matter how much you work to do the will of God, there is always someone who gets offended by what you do. Many leaders and organizers are ready to remove themselves from ministry and volunteer roles in the church because they are tired of others getting offended over their choices.
Q-TIP: Quit Taking It Personally
I understand! It is difficult when people scandalize your works and scrutinize your intentions. I wish it were that easy to just walk away. However, leaders don’t have the luxury to walk away after every critique. But we do have an opportunity to teach.
Peter understood what it was like to be scandalized and scrutinized as a leader. Upon his arrival in Jerusalem from Joppa, his ministry team began to question his intentions for sharing the gospel with the Gentiles, thinking that it was just for them. To the contrary, God has a heart for all sinners. He put his stamp of approval on it when all of the people in Cornelius’s house were filled with his Holy Spirit.
Strive for Stability & Maturity
When interrogated, we do not see the “cut off the ear” Peter as found in the Gospels. We see the leader and teacher who was confident in his call and courageous in his communication. As leaders, it is important that we understand that spiritual maturity and emotional well-being are wedded together. If I am not emotionally stable then it is impossible for me to be spiritually mature. They must go hand in hand, like Batman and Robin, roast and potatoes, Milburn Drysdale and Mrs. Hathaway, peanut butter and jelly (though I like jam because it spreads better).
This stability and maturity is how Peter was able to respond with such grace and finesse. René Descartes said, “Whenever anyone has offended me, I try to raise my soul so high that the offense cannot reach it.” It was Julius Erving who said, “The key to success is to keep growing in all areas of life—mental, emotional, spiritual, as well as physical.”
Dr. Rhansyl Harris is the Lead Pastor of the Rock Church of Cincinnati, Ohio, and adjunct instructor at Cincinnati Christian University. Rhansyl has been joyously married to Shirley for over 16 years, and they are blessed with two children, son, Ryan, and daughter, Raegan.