It was 2012
Back in 2012, I was the pastor of Riverside Baptist Church in Lookout Valley, TN. I was there from August of 2008 to October of 2016.
It was a mixed bag of good, bad, joyful, and tragic. During that year I was neck-deep in finishing my master’s degree, driving a school bus, preaching 3 different sermons a week, and dealing with a sick wife. What’s more, things were happening underneath the radar that would nearly destroy my family and cost my youngest daughter her life.
I don’t know why I am telling you this right now, because it has very little to do with what I wanted to do when I sat down. Actually, all I wanted to do was give a little context to a video I was going to link. However, it just seems like the words I’m typing are being guided. Maybe they’re just what’s on my heart and I need to get them off. I don’t know.
While I was pastor at Riverside, some very bad things happened (hopefully, one day, I’ll have the freedom to share more details). But one of the most painful aspects was finding out – at least being accused – that if I had not been spending so much time studying and working I might have been a better and more attentive father… The one making that accusation was evil and simply trying to make excuses for his own actions.
Yet, in some ways, it was true, which is what makes it painful. I was focused on trying to do things FOR the family and missed some critical times WITH the family. Since then, there has been forgiveness, but scars remain. Thankfully, I serve a God who can even work miracles with scars. He has some too, you know.
Like I said, I didn’t plan on writing this, but somebody evidently needs to read it. Your #1 ministry is your family, not your community, your job, or your church. There is no success in life, whether it be earning millions or having the largest congregation, that is worth losing your children to the enemy. Let me help you put things in order:
- God (your personal relationship with Jesus and your obedience to the will of God)
- Your spouse
- Your children
- Providing for your family (i.e., career, vocational ministry, etc.)
If you’ll look carefully, there’s a lot NOT on that list. What about hobbies? What about community service? What about politics? What about friends?
Oh, you can have those things, but if they break the above hierarchy of priorities, you’ll one day find yourself face-down in a pillow wet with regret.
But what if you’ve already made mistakes you can’t correct? Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
Delight thyself also in the LORD, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him, and he shall bring [it] to pass. – Psalm 37:4-5
Today is a new day and the first day of the rest of your life. The race is not over, so finish well.
His grace is sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9).
Here’s the video I was going to share. It’s still my theme.
3 responses to “I Love to Tell THE Story (w/Benny Berry)”
Self Esteem. Anger, outbursts, shame, obsessive compulsive etc. All these relate to being on trial. cutting it short, we all want to please people and to some degree Love is about that. co-dependency is related.
But we need to stop putting ourselves on trial or to see ourselves on trial being judged by others. That said, we should live right do right, love others, but this always trying to meet others expectations is for the birds.
My X and now my passive aggressive son makes you basically chase them to get their approval. little things like not texting back, not having time, scheduling other things or being busy with someone else who is a no-body when you have something important are ways to make you feel worthless.
So, I say, bugger off to them. I am not calling you. You can call me, and if I have time I will fit you in. Chasing peoples approval. Realizing someone is putting you in that situation and disrespecting you is key. People learn this behaviour and you realize some people tend to specialize in it and when its close to you it makes you angry.
What some loser says about you or your daughter comes from a twisted mind. Your/My desire to meet other people needs ends up being manipulated. Caring people end up having to learn to be guarded to these people but kind. Separate not allowing them to alter our mood because they by their actions and statements disrespect and disparage us.
Not being on trial but still being kind and concerned is the point.
You are not on trial. You did nothing wrong. They are not in a position to parse out your life. They can blow it out their ear. In Jesus Name.
The only miracle I will give you is the miracle of Jonah. Even Jesus told those accusers to take a hike while also showing he was all about love. -Scott.
Scott, I just updated my post. I only made a few changes, but they were changes. You might want to re-read it.
The accusations I spoke of were made by someone who harmed my little girl. He’s now in prison. We’ll leave it at that.
Yes, I figured that. And I figure people are complex, and it sounded like he was a passive aggressive individual that would blame you for his evil.
And while obviously its not your fault, we as fathers and as caring people for some reason take on some of the blame and need to push it back off. Its really a second attack.
Still, I know of a pastor who because of the death of his child became bitter such that he was hurting people in his church. He became snippy and short tempered, and belittling and judgmental. I say that, to say that really we should do some sort of Forensic evaluation as to the effects and fall out of these bad events and the effects of bad people on us, and examine outcomes of our lives.
I realized myself that I have had significant harm done to me, and their are scars. Seeing it from a distance from myself, stepping back has caused me to take steps to repair… put up some walls, and take some others down etc..
One thing for sure, you can take anything that guy said, and disregard it as useless trash. No sense to include him in your life more. When I realized past issues with people can actually visit my life, like visitors in my present, I started, blocking their present effect on me. In several ways, I am taking back what they are currently stealing from me. Realizing I am altering my choices because of them causes me to stop and ask, what is it I want to do in the light of what God wants me to be. rather than having a 10% reactionary slant to choices because of Person X or that Event 2, 5, or 30 years ago.
And examined life is a better life.