Let's Take a Walk


This week's pastor message is from 2014. When first written, it was very applicable. Today, just 3 years later, it is critically important that it be told again.

In the world we live in today we are surrounded by technology that is literally beyond our comprehension. Christian comedian Jerry Clower said it this way once: "we have become educated beyond our intelligence".

You are invited to come and take a walk with me through some events that happened in 2014. There will be no names or exact details given, but the story is in need of telling as many today just do not comprehend their actions and how damaging our activities have become to one another. If you’re looking for a quick warm fuzzy pick me up pastor message, this is not it. You can just stop now and go to the Delete button. 

So dramatic is this story that even those involved as the principles felt it was a storythat must be told. We are very grateful that they support us in this portrayal that follows.

As you walk with me along this path, the scriptures will be mixed into the story in an attempt to give you a real life application of scriptures that we often just minimize. We nearly always think of scripture applying to the life of another person as we are just too busy trying to justify our own actions. We forget that the Bible is written to us. That means you.

In 2014 an event arose that every pastor faces from time to time. We know it is necessary but it is never pleasant. The need arose to fire or dismiss someone from the ministry. In these situations it is essential that a pastor examine every piece of information carefully and consider the matter with prayer and with counsel.

 

These types of decisions change people's lives forever. The decision has to be the right decision.

Information came to my attention that a staff member, based on circumstantial evidence, could be involved in questionable activity. As a pastor, it is always our heart desire to make the right decision:
Proverbs 16: 20 "He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he."

When the information was first examined, we believed certain absolutes to be true: (some of those absolutes would prove out-some would not)
1. The activity was possible due to events long ago passed that, no one else could possibly know of. How did we know? As pastors, we often know much more than others due to confidences entrusted to a pastor over many years.
2. This activity involved two families.
3. In one family, (we'll call them family A) everyone had unlimited access to the internet with little or no parental supervision. To compound this, those children believed they had a "right" to do anything they wanted to on the internet and to do so - "as a right" - without any parental knowledge of the activity. Children in this mind set do not realize that parents function as the authority of God in their life to protect them and to protect others from their actions:


Proverbs 16:2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.

 

In other words, just as God looks at the spiritual side of our lives - so parents are to look at the greater ramification of their children's actions that a child simply cannot understand. The children of family A also believed that they had "a right" to privacy and that this right gives them the freedom to do whatsoever they please and to do so with whomsoever they choose no matter whom, or what, it may involve. The Bible calls this attitude pride and arrogance. This type of attitude always leads to problems for that person and others.

 

Proverbs 16:28 "A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends."


4. The other family (we'll call them family B) did not allow their children any access to the internet, cell phones, or any social media. These parents had done all they knew to do. They desired to instill in their children's lives the concept of the "fear of the Lord".


Proverbs 16: 6 "By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil."


5. The parents of family A did not allow their children to have knowledge of matters pertaining to adults.
6. The parents of family B discussed everything with their children and so the children knew of very sensitive and potentially damaging information usually restricted to adults only.

Both of these approaches to parenting are not recommended and nearly always lead to serious and damaging results. Children are NOT adults and t treat then as such denies them the joy of being a child as well as forcing responsibility on the (as yet) undeveloped mind of the child.

As the pastor, it came to my attention that there was texting, email, and Facebook correspondence occurring between the two families. The content of this correspondence is not the issue and there is no reason to believe that there would be anything in the content to have concern over.
The dilemma is that in family A there is unlimited access to the internet by the children - but in family B it is believed that only the parents have internet access - not the children.
We knew for certain that contact and information was being passed and we knew for certain that it was not parent to parent. So now it appears that a married spouse in family B is having a prolong repetitive contact with a child in family A.
When questions begin to be asked, the child in family A refused to disclose who the contact is coming from and why. Remember-they think they have a right to hide things.

Proverbs 16:25  "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."

 

Because of this deception and hiding of activity by the child, the parent's in family A reasonably assume that there is activity, or possibly more occurring, that they would not be in favor of. These parents also become alarmed that the parents in family B would do this.

Family A and family B do not attend the same church; they live in different parts of the state, and they had no (known) regular contact with each other.

In this day and culture, not to mention applicable laws, there is never any time that prolong contact should be occurring betweenan adult and a minor that have no relation to each other and are not in any way connected such as school, church, etc. Then, if this contact is thought to be hidden or being done in secret, serious concerns then arise.

After two days of counsel, prayer, and consideration of what we knew, a decision was reached to dismiss the staff member involved. Why? Because we are told in the Bible:


II Thes. 5:22 "Abstain from the very appearance of evil".  

 

With no knowledge of the reason for this continual activity, then we cannot protect either the child, the adult, or the ministry from any accusations that could be made since there appears to be no reason these two would have any contact at all. **Remember the part about pastors knowing more than others-as the pastor it is was known to me that if this activity was occurring it is especially detrimental as the background of one of the parents has direct bearing on the situation.** 
At this point, based on what we knew, the decision to dismiss is a good decision, a righteous decision, a scriptural decision, and one that all of leadership (6 people working together) were in agreement with. 
BUT - unknown to us, at this point, it is the wrong decision!!  WOW!!  

Thank the Lord we did not make a wrong decision for the right reason.

Why was the decision we made wrong? What no one knew was that a child in family B had been secretly emailing, texting, and Facebooking with a child in family A. Well, ok, so, what's the big deal? 
Good question.!!
The problem was not that the two were texting. The problem was that the parents did not know of it. The problem was that the child from each family were now working together to hide it from their parents and the pastor.


How is this a problem?


Because the pastor, with agreements from the parents of both families, had these parents working together on some problems that no one had any knowledge of. Now this activity by the children - thought to involve one of the adults - appears to be a serious and grievous transgression that the ministry cannot allow. Not to mention the breach of trust this activity (had it really been happening) by an adult would cause for everyone involved.

At the very last minute, (we were about to actually move forward with the firing of the staff member) the child in family A decides to tell the truth to the parents.
The truth is :
The child in family B that had no access to the internet, a cell phone, or Facebook in fact is the one who has been emailing, texting, and Facebooking with the child in family A. How? All of this done in secret from school and through friends.

 

With that new information-we were able to avoid what would have been a “right” decision based on false information and serious damage would have been done to lives of people completely innocent.

Both of these children had put themselves and their interests over that of everyone else. Their actions could have resulted in a devastating decision that would affect the ministry and the lives of both families.

 

Proverbs 17:20 "He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief."

Folks;    Secrets divide.    Secrets destroy.   There is no action, thought, or deed that does not affect others around you. We have children all over this country today going to jail because they do not understand the ramifications of their actions and what they say on social networks.

 

Proverbs 17:25 "A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him."  

 

Many children today are causing serious problems for their families, friends, churches, and communities. If you think you can send an email, or make a post on a blog, or talk on Facebook or any other social media, and it is a private conversation, YOU ARE WRONG !!!These forms of electronic communication last forever! They never go away. In fact, no account on Facebook can actually be closed; it can only become dormant. 

Many parents today are equating wealth and success of family provision with equipping their children with all the latest technology.

 

Proverbs 17:1 "Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife."

 

The fact is that a simple life with limited material possessions in a Godly home is far better than a Godless home filled with every material possession one can find.

Parents, if you have a child emailing or Facebooking, or anything else that you do not know about, consent to, and are in full agreement with - you are unscriptural and headed for trouble and heartache. While you might not care about that in your family - the rest of us take it serious and the world just does not need the aggravation of enduring needless tragedy and heartache due to the actions of self-centered ego driven adolescent children.

Pastor Ray

Thought for the Week
Your life is not about you at all !!  It is about everyone but you!