Matthew Heusser has been writing a lot about integrity lately. I think these are so valuable. I responded to one and decided I wanted to place it here as well.
My father is a soon-to-be-retired pastor. One particular church he was serving had an individual who routinely usurped his leading and authority. It eventually came to a point where my father set forth the necessary actions to have that person removed from their position. Prayer. Council. Meetings. Votes. Those kind of actions.
Needless to say, this created quite a schism in the otherwise picturesque congregation. I witnessed many a friendly face turn sour; anger and condemnation poured almost as readily as the backbiting and slander against him. My father had done irreparable harm to "their church" I was not a little concerned that his decision may have been wrong; look at all the havoc it had wreaked in this once tranquil scene!
Sometime later, we sat at breakfast where he shared with me these words that I will forever cherish, "Son, if it comes down to pleasing God or pleasing man, go with God and take your hits." The church never regained its composure and my father recognized that he himself had to leave if healing were to take place. This is when I learned that integrity costs. Dearly.
Perhaps I'm biased, but I truly believe that my father's actions in those days were used - whether he knew it or not - to expose a truly nefarious 'bug' that existed behind the peaceful veneer of some carnal Christians. If the quality of Christian service were of the utmost importance to these slanderous actors, would their response to this perceived injustice have been so decidedly Un-Christlike? Their reactions proved to me that their "church" was not the Church of God's design, but a social club meant to satiate a more carnal desire. This kind of church was NOT in the specs.
So this has been my observation when it comes to the truth: we can hide from it, but it will eventually come out. The sooner it comes out, the less layers of false expectation have been heaped upon it - reducing the damage and expediting the healing/fixing.
Just think of how the world economy would be today if a few more "lights" spoke out in the financial epicenters 10 years ago.
Thank you, Matt, for your posts on Integrity. May they be more than read, may they be understood.