Warning. Long post ahead.
There are a lot of things that can hinder a persons ministry. Some will out right ruin it. But there are so many ways a character flaw or a small pattern of sin can hinder the effectiveness and credibility of ministry. Two of those that come up a lot are pride and bitterness.
Pride is a subtle one. Pride is a wicked task master. It can have a person believing in their own abilities and thinkng of themselves as experts or superior. Pride though, is devestating. I think this verse is powerful in its description of pride
Psalms 10:4: In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
Pride keeps someone from seeking God. Pride keeps a person from learning or seekng wisdom from other sources. Pride forces a person to set him or her self up as a bigger than life figure only to suffer a nasty fall at the hands of humility. Pride in ministry smells bad. People pick it up. People see it. And they don’t usually flock to it. Humility though. Now that is an attraction many gater to follow. Whenever I find myself swelled with pride, God is swift to step in and bring me to a place of humility. Even Jesus Himself kept pointing people to God and deferring all His prayers and devotion to God. I hate it when I have pride. I hate it when it is revealed in me. Not because I have to repent of it. But because it is not a pleasant fragrance to God. Pride is alot like bad breath. Everyone knows it except the offender.
Bitterness is a nother nasty ministry killer. Bitterness is like a backed up sewer. It just flows all over the place. This verse is a great reminder of what damage bitterness causes.
Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
Bitterness can grow into a root and it causes trouble and defiles so many people that come in contact with it. Roots are nasty if you need to get them out. It’s better just to keep them from growing. People who are bitter can hide it for a while. But it will eventually seep out. In conversations. In response to slights. In situations. In arguments. Bitterness in leaders will keep them from applying the grace and mercy of God to those people that have the same problems as the ones that caused the leaders bitterness in the first place. And bitterness can be explained away. “Oh God made me really sensative in that area.” Yep. He did. And I have been there. My mom smoked as long as I knew her. And she died as a result of cancer and emphazema. And for a long time I really harbored resentment and bitterness to smokers. I thought they were so selfish to smoke, that they didnt care if their lives were cut short. And I knew that they run the risk of short changing their loved ones and didnt really care. But God has been working on that in me. And I have seen that my bitterness precluded me from really giving grace and mercy to people and being willing vessel of ministry to them. All leaders have hot buttons. And the hot buttons can be the very thing that turns into a root of bitterness.
What’s so funny about these and other areas is that people will act like they don’t have the problem at work in their life. They won’t admit it. They won’t look within. I have done it so many times. But the best path for me to take is to the cross to embrace a healthy dose of humility because these two SBD’s, among others, stink really bad. And if I don’t embrace humility, God will certainly take me through many opportunities to break my grip on pride and bitterness.