Monday, February 20, 2017


In churches I've pastored for over forty years I've had a standard for my life while in that ministry and I truly hope I've carried it over to the present day. That standard is, to the best of my ability, I tried to learn to evaluate people based on my first-hand experience with them and NOT on what someone else told me about them. This was because second-hand information can be very misleading and inaccurate to say the least. It COULD even have an agenda about which one might be unaware.

Case in point is the day I moved onto the field as pastor of a church in Texas a few decades ago. There was a letter from a former pastor in the middle drawer of the pastor's desk addressed to "The Next Pastor." What I read was a warning which encouraged me to be sure and watch my back where certain people in the fellowship were concerned. [in other words, DON'T TRUST them!] It honestly scared me to death. He had left me a list of people that I obviously did not know personally, including a deacon who lived across the street from the parsonage and the pastor's personal secretary. [That certainly caused me some concern.] I promptly put the letter in a bottom drawer and, surprisingly, soon forgot about it.

A couple of years later I came upon that letter. I read the forgotten list again. Much to my surprise, the named deacon had become like a GRANDFATHER to our kids and the secretary was a JEWEL...from my perspective. Lesson learned. One person's evaluation of another MAY NOT wind up being the definition of your relationship with that same person. Thus, my suggestion is to start fresh with your evaluation of ANY individual no matter WHAT is told you about them. Beware of TRIANGULATION in ANY relationship. [Triangulation__ "a manipulative device to engineer a negative opinion between two people, known as playing one (person) against another."]

This lesson is proving even more important in this internet era when statements and charges can be made about someone with little ability to REALLY know the truth. Josh McDowell once said something like this, 'The abundance of information [on the internet] will NOT lead to CERTAINTY; it WILL lead to pervasive skepticism.' [BINGO!] He went on to say,'The Internet has leveled the playing field. TRUTH has now taken a back seat [Devaluing truth__a deliberate downward adjustment] as SKEPTICS and MIS-INFORMATION [and sometimes even lies] are given equal access and validity.'

I regret to say, I haven't always lived up to the standard of NON-TRIANGULATION learned early on, but when I find I'm not, I repent as quickly as I realize the failure. It is a lesson I don't want to forget which is a challenge with the use of the Internet.

Paul B.

1 comment:

Aussie John said...

I can only applaud your every word in this article.

During the beginning days (weeks) of my first pastoral ministry I was literally inundated (I mean that word emphatically) with members visiting me to warn about certain people or to complain about some. I found none of the warnings valid and the complaints were often a reflection of the person making the complaints.
One young couple complained of a lack of love in the congregation. After two or three visits from them I suggested that they ought to show a spirit of love towards the others: Their comment,"If we don't receive love from others we cannot show love towards them".

I'm so glad that our Lord didn't have that attitude towards me!!