Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant
When we left off in part one, it had become evident that the dad pastor had listened to untrue gossip and was determined to act upon it, even to the extreme of coercing one of his youth workers to make accusations against our children. My son was dating my friend’s daughter and the gossip was that they had begun a physical relationship. When the youth worker came back into the meeting room and admitted that he’d been pressured by the pastor to lie, all bets were off.
The son assumed that the issue would be dropped. He somehow seemed to not grasp that the dad had pressured the youth worker to lie about our kids. But, the dad, even with the curtain now drawn back, would not be deterred. He told us that, for the good of the church we should force our kids to break up for six months so that the youth ministry workers wouldn’t look foolish. And, to this day, I really believe that he thought we would do it. He thought we would sacrifice our children on the altar of his church’s reputation. How surprised he was when we both said no. We would not make it look like our kids were guilty in order to make his church look right.
The dad still had a bullet left in his gun, though. “Ross,” he said. “it occurs to me that I have to start being very careful about who I allow on stage with me to sing before the message. I don’t want people in the congregation to be asking why I let people sing if they don’t agree with Biblical teaching on dating, marriage and the authority of the pastor.”
I didn’t respond. There was nothing to be said. He held all the power in this case. He’d made it clear that, if I didn’t cave, Liz would no longer have a ministry in song at his church.
This was on November 22. I remember that so clearly because he made a big show of opening up his Franklin Day Planner and saying, “I’m writing down that on November 22 you refused to obey the authority of your pastor.” Liz was not asked to sing for quite awhile and I didn’t tell her why. The winter and spring went by without Liz either singing or mentioning to me that she wasn’t. It seemed to not have an effect on her. The climax though, was when she didn’t sing on Mother’s Day. And, the pastor’s daughter did. Yes, he chose a single, childless family member to sing on mother’s day rather than have Liz sing. He was punishing Liz for something she didn’t do and didn’t know about all because he was upholding the reputation of his church.
That was when I told Liz what happened. She was so hurt. “But, I didn’t do anything wrong! I’ve been praying all these weeks and asking God to show me the sin in my life that was disqualifying me. And it wasn’t my sin!”
No, it was his. he used the power he thought he was entitled to and waged war against my wife. He’d listened to gossip. The gossip was untrue. he tried to bully me. He hurt my wife. Not, in the name of Christ, but in the name of his church business. And who was there to make it right? No one. He answered to no one because he was the business owner. It was the family business.