You know who I’m talking about. Those people who are just so annoying. They’re the ones who don’t know when to end the joke. They’re the ones who can’t stop talking about their pet rock collection. They’re the ones who say offensive things in the middle of conversations. They’re the ones who make your friends feel uncomfortable and want to leave.
And they’re all over the church! It’s hard to make it through a Sunday (or any other day of the week for that matter) without running into them. I thought I’d take a quick second to share about how to handle them.
First, let me preface: the church is a treasure. In fact, it’s loved by Jesus himself. You can’t be a Christian and not be a part of a church body. That’s ludicrous. That’s like saying I’m a football player, but I don’t go to the field or practice or play at all, because I can read the play book or watch a game on TV. What a joke. Any way, end of the first rant. Here we go on how to do deal with annoying people:
Part of what makes my church a treasure and haven is that we generally are accepting of people, even sometimes to a fault. There is a good place for church discipline, and I plan on having difficult conversations regularly.
That being said, I think it’s important to keep things in context. Everyone is, believe it or not, on a long journey called sanctification.
The Bible talks about sheep, goats, and wolves. I’ve heard one pastor describe these animals in this way (paraphrased): sheep are people trying to do God’s will who sometimes make mistakes. Goats want to do God’s will but screw up a little bit worse and maybe even rebel a bit. Wolves, however, are intentionally trying to hurt people and have no concern for God’s will at all. I want to ask you, if you had to peg this annoying person as one of these, which would you choose? My personal opinion after much prayer and consideration, is that they may not be a wolf. With that in mind, read this article to understand what we are to do with sheep and goats. My current thought is that asking someone to leave your church would do far more damage than good and as ministers in the church (I count you as one, too), we are to do our best to care for all the sheep and goats, even the ones who stink a little more. I’m sure glad for the times when people ministered to me (as a disruptive little goat), because they saw something more in me than just my current position.
Let’s keep praying for this person and ask God to break through in their heart. At the same time, let’s pray for ourselves, that God would give us more treasured and haven-like hearts to chase after Him and allow Him to fill us to overflow so that each sheepish and goaty interaction could help point people to Jesus.
After you’ve done a bunch of praying, maybe it’s time to get out Jesus’ model on confrontation (Matthew 5:23, 18:15ff).
Don’t forget, we’re all on a journey. And someone else may be reading this blog with you in mind :-).