Pilate cynically spat, “What is truth?” in response to Jesus’ comment about those who side with him. I suppose we have all preached, taught, wrote, and discussed the nature of truth, the embrace of our modern, post-modern, post-Christian culture of relativism.
Don’t let your consideration of truth exist only in the exterior. The role of truth in pastoral health transcends the intellectual assent of objective truth, philosophy, or theology. Truth cannot be separated from pastoral health. Truth internalized, in this post, is Truth in our perception of ourselves in relation to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit.
Few of us have come into adulthood untouched by the effects of living in a fallen world. For some, family of origin issues exert a powerful delusion on the heart of the pastor. Mercy-oriented pastors often emerge from hellholes of rejection, abuse, and pain and bring a strong desire to heal and be healed. Just as often that desire is somewhat skewed. Others come to the role of pastor with a bullish need to control others and use the pulpit, the trust and the privilege of the pastoral office to do so. Others can’t imagine a God that really is interested in them as beings, just doers. Doing pleases and so doing becomes the primary concern while being is cast aside in lieu of doing just a little more. Others, shell-shocked and afraid of confrontation, make a decision along the way to run at the first sign of “trouble” or frustration with a church or church board.
How do you perceive yourself? How do you think God perceives you?
The answers to these questions will largely impact the quality and nature of your ministry. This is the place in the post where the reader expects a list of Scripture passages or thoughts on what this looks like. This is the place in the post where this writer diverges from expectation. The truth is (pun not entirely intended) catharsis is found in each of us going to God in prayer with an open Bible and making a covenant with the Father that goes something like this: “Father, I will deal only in Truth. I will not harbor or foster deception about who you are, what your intentions are, or who I am in you.”
Perhaps you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. OK. Here’s the other shoe. He will show you, painfully and faithfully, the areas of your life where you have calculated and cultivated deception in the inner man and he will bring you to the place of making a choice—either to continue in the former deception or to embrace the truth and to power through the pain. If you persist through the pain, I guarantee that your every atom of your being will be transformed into a vessel of honor for God’s glory. You will begin increasingly to find the satisfaction in ministry that so often eludes you. You will begin to see yourself as a person serving a congregation of One. Jesus said something similar to the saints in Pergamum: “To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.” (Revelation 2:17)