As many of you know I was an elder for several years at a local church. During this period of time, I began to address some areas within the leadership structure that I and several other elders thought problematic and which needed to be modified or simply eliminated. Had I known then what I know now, I would have quietly slipped away with my wife and family and looked for another group to fellowship with. But alas—hindsight is 20/200.
All of this happened after a planned change in leadership that ended up feeling more like a coup than a simple re-structuring of leadership titles and responsibilities.
All I can say at this point is that relationships began to fall apart after this and the situation got very contentious. After about a year into the transition, as things continued to fall apart, I became a leaky vessel with an imaginary target on my back, taking hits on an almost daily basis. The only reason I stuck it out as long as I did was a naivete on my part and perhaps a sliver of a hope that one day things would be better.
I will be the first to say that I didn’t always act in a keep-your-mouth-shut Christian manner. A couple of the people I trusted with my “opinions” actually formed a committee to “expose” my opinion/sin and then when the sit down meeting happened, didn’t actually say a bad word about us. But the damage had been done. They were on their way up in the church and I was on my way down. Sounds pretty carnal, right!
Ultimately four of the six elders left that church and began another group that served as a transition place for many of the people who would also leave.
Nobody won the war and everybody lost something during the fallout that followed.
My point here is not to re-hash ancient history, but rather release an update and a conclusion to the aforementioned mess.
As I was cleaning out my e-mail inbox today I noticed one titled “Elders Stuff”. As I clicked on one e-mail after another I began to sense a somewhat angry sadness fill my thoughts and wondered just what I was I was trying to prove by re-living some of those, crafted by the enemy, scenarios. So, after reflecting for a moment on the 4 or 5 years of back and forth e-mails (my identity at the time), I scrolled to the bottom of the page and deleted the whole box of several hundred texts.
Yes, I have finally reached a point in my life where I can say that I no longer need to linger on that particular past, play those mental tapes again, or imagine how things might have turned out better.
I am grateful for all that I have been through and endured in order that I might become one of my generation’s disillusioned ones. To become such is to be released of any illusions that I had of how things really were.
What I know now is that it is much easier to go through a door we believe God has opened than it is to close one in the right way and in good fashion when that time finally comes. I believe that perseverance is a good thing but we also need to know when it is time to move on to the next station in life.
Most of the frustration I felt during that time and the hurt that I sustained might have been eliminated had I had my ear a little closer to the ground. Yet at the same time I realize that the lessons I learned the hard way would not have been as profound.
All in all it has been a good ride and I will certainly stick with that.