How to Guard Your Heart in an Unhealthy Church Culture
Do you remember the first time you experienced a broken heart? Someone once told me if you are going to love, then you have to be willing to get hurt because it is impossible to love someone without them disappointing you at some point. While churches should not be a place of hurt, if you are going to serve in ministry and honestly give your heart to what you are doing, then at some point, the same advice applies. You are going to have the opportunity to guard your heart.
A great resource on this topic is the book A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards. I read it regularly. It is like a vitamin for my soul. It tells the story of David’s life, and how he chose to honor even when those he was serving and eventually leading were dishonoring him (aka trying to kill him). If David can write ballads honoring Saul at his death, then you and I can certainly find a way to honor the difficult people in our lives as well.
One of my favorite quotes from this book is, “When Saul is chasing you, he is actually chasing the Saul out of you” (my paraphrase). When you respond to Saul with dishonor, you are becoming like Saul yourself. Finding a path to honor, no matter how painful, will cause you to become a better leader; like David.
What David Sees
What I learned from this book changed the way I view the principle of honor. A David always finds the Saul in himself and the David in others. A Saul only sees the David in himself and the Saul in others. Taking this approach focuses on the faults in others. It refuses to accept any other role other than a mistreated David. There is another way.
We guard our hearts, not by getting even, or denying there is a problem, but by honoring as we move in a new direction.
We must not allow feeling like a victim to excuse hurting others. If we want to avoid becoming the villain in someone else’s story, then we must not accept the role of a victim in our own.
What Honor Says About You
Honor is a principle that guides your life no matter what environment you are in at the time. There is research that states, not only does what you say about others say more about you than them, but it is also linked to your emotional stability. When you choose to honor even when someone doesn’t seem to deserve it, you are showing that you are honorable and can be trusted. Not to mention a more kind-hearted person on a path to happiness instead of despair.
Honor shows humility. When you honor, you are saying there may be more to the story than you presently know. It demonstrates you are willing to give God room to work in someone else’s life even when it is inconvenient for you. Honor shows that your hope is in a perfect God, even when you are working with imperfect people.
What Honor Is Not
Honor doesn’t mean we are not honest. Some want to “be real” and ignore the biblical principle of honor. Others mistakenly believe that honor means ignoring problems when something is wrong. Neither of these is correct. We must be honest in an honoring way.
That is what we are going to talk about next; how to be honest when there is something genuinely wrong, and a change needs to be made.
This blog is part of an ongoing collection of blogs I am sharing on Soul Gardening. This post is part 2 of 5 on the steps you should take before making a culture shift. You can read part one here.