What do you do when your pastor offends you? How do you approach the spiritual leader of the church who has hurt you?
Consider taking these steps when approaching a pastor who has offended you.
Talk to your Heavenly Father about the offense.
Pray before you do anything else. Acknowledge your disappointment. Admit your anger. Ask the Lord for insight. There are occasions when the Lord sends healing through private prayer. Praying about the situation may settle the offense for you. If so, leave the hurt in God’s hands and move on.
Examine your feelings.
Take some time to understand your feelings. Why are you angry? What was it that offended you? It is easy to say someone angers you. It takes work to identify your disappointment. When you identify the root of the problem you can begin to take steps to find a solution.
Ask your pastor for a time to meet privately.
Jesus said, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother” (Matthew 18:15). Note the instruction, “go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.” In the hallway or at the annual picnic or after worship on a Sunday morning is not the best time to discuss an offense. Schedule a time to visit with your pastor in private.
Address the problem without attacking the pastor.
Do not attack your pastor. Instead, address the problem. If necessary, put the offense in writing so you can be specific. Get to the point. Try your best to be gracious. Try not to hurt the offender while describing his offense.
Let me add from my own experience, do not be surprised if your pastor does not have a clue about the offense. On more than a few occasions I have had to ask the offended individual to recount the situation for me because I could not remember what happened. Your pastor is not trying to be rude. If he is like most pastors, he is asking for details so he can recall his offense in order to confess it cleanly and completely.
What is the purpose of meeting with your pastor? Is it to express your anger? Is it to exact revenge? Or, is it to seek reconciliation? The only way to achieve reconciliation is for you to be forgiving. You must be willing to forgive when you speak with your pastor.
Speaking on the subject of forgiveness Jesus said, “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:37-38).
Additionally, God’s Word says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18).
Drop it and move on.
If your pastor responds with contrition and remorse, give thanks and move on. If he does not, drop it and move on. What good is it to hang on to an old heartache? What does it accomplish to hold a grudge? If you took all these steps to be reconciled, regardless of the response, move on.
I am always interested in your remarks. Please feel free to add to the conversation.