“In this world you will have trouble.” (Jn. 16:33)
Not only do we face personal issues but we are also affected by the problems of others. Out of concern for them and their struggles, we desire to help people resolve their problems. Sometimes we know just what to do but other times we might be at a loss.
When we find ourselves trying to deal with the same or similar issues, we can get to feeling like a hypocrite and perhaps question whether we should even be in ministry.
Trouble: You might face all sorts of hard life issues in the lives of the people whom and with whom you serve.
Reactions: concern and/or uncertainties about how to help, what to say, what to do
Remember: It is God’s job to “fix” people and cause them to grow, not ours. We merely work in cooperation with Him.
So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. … For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. … (1 Cor. 3:5-11)
Recourse: Be there for one another (Gal. 6:1-5) and love the people you serve deeply (1 Pet. 1:22; 4:8) but trust God to do the work in their hearts.
Trouble: You might face similar situations or problems in your own life as the people you serve.
Reactions: guilt and shame
Remember: You too are human. God takes that into account. You are not above temptations, falling into sin, making wrong decisions, or having negative reactions. God provides the help you need in times of temptation and the forgiveness you need when you have failed.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. (Ps. 103:13-14)
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Cor. 10:13)
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 Jn. 1:8-9)
Recourse: Have a realistic view of yourself (Rom. 12:3). Repent (1 Jn. 1:8-9) and remember Jesus’ words to the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more (Jn. 8:3-11). Learn from it so you will be able to better serve those to whom and with whom you minister. Waddling in guilt will only bring you and your ministry down.