Sent: Sunday, January 01 2006
Dear Pastor Vitale,
I have a problem when someone writes something in an email and the other party does not address it, or says something completely incongruous. It leaves me confused; I need to understand what is going on. Since my response this time was out of order, I would like to know what to do in the future when this happens.
[Pastor Vitale’s Response:] I have the same need (I do not see it as a problem), but I have found out that most people do not have this need, and only get annoyed when I push for an explanation.
I am looking for an explanation for it to make sense to me. I need to know that it is not because I am going crazy. If we are copied all these emails, I take it that we are expected to follow and understand the contents, not simply to acknowledge receipt when we cannot make sense out of it.
[Pastor Vitale’s Response:] This attitude merely points out that you are a cut above other men. I have found that I must learn to manage my attributes that make me different if I am to get along with the world J.
First of all, I pray and ask what the Lord would have me to do.
General rule # 1: Ask the Lord to help me to query from a position of humility, rather than authority. Even if we do not mean any harm, speaking with authority to an authority is disorderly and, if the authority does not have a grip on his pride, we have a problem, such as occurred here.
In all fairness to the one concerned in this instance, the ability to respond to a misstep in Christ is an advanced skill which is difficult to acquire in that it requires the ability in Christ to:
(a) Recognize that we are having a carnal reaction
(b) Fly above our initial carnal reaction (offense in pride)
(c) Confess our carnal response as sin
(d) Dispassionately evaluate the situation
(e) Respond out of a Christ motive, which ALWAYS places the well being of the offender BEFORE the needs of the more mature believer who, most likely, is still in emotional pain, from the offender’s misstep
(f) Find out from the Lord what response in Christ will HELP the offender to UNDERSTAND why what he did was wrong and MOTIVATE him to resist engaging in that behavior in the future. This is called “conviction.” We must convince the sinner that what they have done is wrong – which is no easy task, trust me.
And what about my pain at the hands of the novice? It goes away when we minister Christ to the sinner.
9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. KJV
15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, KJV
Or should I just try and let things that are not desperate, go?
[Pastor Vitale’s Response:] We never “let anything go.” We do turn the issue over to Christ. The only time I have ever seen Him “let it go” is when my motive “to do something about it” is self-serving. He will correct all unrighteousness FOR THE GOOD OF THE SINNER in His own time.
For example, recently someone said to me, “Did you ever know me to lie?” I said, “No,” for reasons I will not explain now (everyone lies sometimes). The very next day that person lied and has lied several times since, but to the best of my knowledge they have not connected the above events. We see exposure of sin here, but it could take years for the person to be convicted. I, with prayer and a Godly attitude have, however, set the wheels of conviction in motion.
Love, Pastor Vitale
Sent: Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Dear Pastor Vitale,
I am almost in tears reading this. Thank you so so so so much for all you do for us. Such wisdom, such goodness, such..... Oh, may I humbly learn at your feet!
I love you, thanks, love, xxx
Sent: Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Thank you for your response. I really appreciate being appreciated. It is a hard, lonely walk.
Love, Pastor Vitale