Randy Booth nails one of the common failings of the church in a recent post. After talking about how people in the church get on your nerves, he says:
Soon the gripping, complaining, criticizing, gossiping, impatience, avoidance, and isolation set in and church becomes a place where we simply “do our duty,” but we’re not so happy about it. A thousand petty things are stored away against this or that person or their kids. We justify ourselves because they don’t act right. And while we’re waiting on them to straighten up we busy ourselves with our own concerns and drift further and further away from our friends—the very people God saved and put in His Church.
Now, since we’re all tempted to these things from time-to-time, allow me to shepherd you back to the fold. Stop it! Straighten up! Fervently love the brethren and pursue peace. You’re not so great yourself. People have to put up with you all the time; and aren’t you glad they do? It is a lot of trouble, but we need each other; God said we do. Allow me to zero in on this Holy Spirit-inspired admonition from the Apostle Paul:
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. –Ephesians 4:1-3
Now then, say something nice about them; pray for them, encourage them, love them, and serve them—right now.
And just to make sure we get the point, Randy closes by saying “Yes, I am talking about you!”
now that’s real pastoral sensitivity . . . and true love . . . and I’m not kidding.