After many months of prayer, discernment, and wise counsel, we were left with a very clear decision; it was time for our family to leave the church. It took a while to get there:
- The new pastor was hired by a committee on which I had spent almost an entire year.
- I was involved in most major committees of the church.
- The Sunday school class I led was a large vibrant presence on the campus.
- The new pastor had taken into his confidence and took me “behind the curtain” with issues the church was experiencing.
But I knew as clearly as I had ever known anything, it was time to go.
I met the pastor for a breakfast to let him know the arduous and God-breathed adventure I had been on to get me to this decision. I felt the inspiration and increasing courage of a man who was seeking his Father and leading his family in the way he believed he should go. It did not go well. I think he felt hurt and abandoned. He essentially said:
- the leadership of my family was misguided
- I wasn’t much of a leader
- I was simply running from my problems.
To sit before a man I had respected and whose authority I had submitted to and hear that kind of response, would have crumbled me just a few years prior. But the sweetness and clarity of my Father’s validation crowded out all others. Instead of shame and anger, I felt sorry for him. He didn’t really even know me and it was unlikely, given the situation I was putting him in, that he could do anything but judge me in that way. He is good man and he is clearly not a “swine”, but it was very much like the caution in Matthew 7:6. It was not wise for my to cast my pearls so transparently in front of him. It would have been very difficult for him to receive them. Even after all these years, I recall it like it was yesterday. In many ways, it was a turning point in my life.
Recently, my son had to have a crucial conversation with a ministry head. He and I talked quite a while about this experience of mine and what I felt like God was speaking through it. Our Father is our only true validation. He is the one we turn to for the ultimate confirmation of who we are as men. All needs to line up with the plumb of scripture and wise counsel should confirm, but only He can validate. Anything or anyone you give the ability to validate, you give the ability to invalidate as well. That right should rest only with our Father in heaven.
Sadly, the head of the ministry did not receive it well, but son was operating from the clarity and conviction that only comes from the Father's validation. He felt like his Father had spoken; he had prayed, fasted, and sought the wise counsel of many. I even had the privilege of spending some of the experiential currency I had earned from the challenging journey of my life. So, my boy was disappointed, but not discouraged. No foothold for the enemy here. Ground taken, ground held.
May we all seek and find the only true validation...the only one that is powerful enough to silence all the whispers of our enemy.