Wednesday, September 28, 2011
When The Pastor's Wife Needs Correction
Last week, my friend Carmen called me for some counsel on how to handle a situation between she and her pastor’s wife. Her pastor’s wife gives leadership to a ministry in which Carmen’s 11 year-old son is a member. In preparation for the ministry event, her pastor’s wife made a comment to Carmen’s son that was offensive to Carmen and hurtful to her son. Though Carmen had observed her pastor's wife to be curt and somewhat standoffish with other people, she concluded the comment was probably more thoughtless and careless than malicious. But, Carmen also knew she needed to address the issue--most mothers would have agreed. The issue for Carmen was: “How do I correct my pastor’s wife? She is supposed to be the leader. She is supposed to set the example of good communication.”
After listening to Carmen’s story, I, too, agree that she needed to address the issue—but, not as a mama-bear protecting her cub. Instead, she had to make sure she was in a space in which her motive really was to bring the best out of her pastor’s wife. Further, I asked Carmen: “Why do you think your pastor’s wife is supposed to be a model of good communication? Where did she learn that? Who taught her?” After all, pastors and their wives are like everyone else: maybe we grew up in homes that exhibited godly and healthy communication, but maybe we didn’t. Maybe we have been intentional on working on our own issues, or maybe we haven’t. Maybe we have perfected some of our shortcomings, but in other areas we are still works in progress. Like all those in the body of Christ, pastors and their wives have to learn what it means to die and surrender to self so that our lives, our actions, and our words exhibit fruits of the spirit—love, joy, peace, kindness, gentleness and the like. How else will we learn if no one is willing to give us a biblical reproof?
This episode with Carmen and her pastor’s wife did get me to thinking if I was approachable to a member of my church if they felt I had wronged them? I hope so. But, the reality is, there is no way around this being a sticky situation.
So, I ask you pastor’s wives: Do you think before you speak? Do you weigh your words? Are you open to correction?
And, I ask you, parishioners the same questions. In addition, do you unrealistically believe your pastor’s wife is a paragon of all things good? Are you willing to operate from a motive that brings that best out of other believers in the body, including your pastor’s wife?
We can only grow and mature if we are friends with correction.
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.” Proverbs 12:1.