Whether you are a pastor, spouse, parent, friends, community group member – there is at least one simple rule for how to care for others in the best way possible.
If you are going to learn one thing from what I am going to put here, please remember those two words: Don’t Assume.
When it comes to your friends, spouse, fellow pastors, children, church members, etc… – we cannot afford to assume. Assumption is the paved road that leads to destruction. To really care all we have to do is ask.
Don’t Assume the Bad
- Don’t assume your friend is getting drunk – ask them.
- Don’t assume your kid is stealing – ask them.
- Don’t assume your fellow pastors marriage is on the rocks – ask them.
We can be quick to jump to the worst possible situation. Love hopes and believes all things (1 Cor. 13:7). This means that we are praying and desiring the best…but it doesn’t mean we are naive and “look the other way.” It means we don’t immediately assume the worst.
And on the flip side – we better be open and honest. Whomever we have established trust and reciprocal care for, maybe they shouldn’t have to ask and wonder how we are doing. What if we were so transparent and told them plainly and often how we are doing. Wild idea.
Don’t Assume the Good
- Don’t assume when they are confessing sin that they are following it up with repentance, wisdom and a plan. It is easier to confess than it is to change. We need help each other be washed in the water of the Word so the gospel can powerfully work within us. Confession is step 1.
- Don’t assume that everything in their marriage is right on track and that nothing is abnormal. We are great at hiding what is embarrassing, frustrating & shameful. And those are the things that usually what need to be in the light. We need to ask pointed questions of each other.
- Don’t assume they will come out and tell you what is truly bothering them and what sin so easily entangles them. Do you know what sins easily entangle your wife? Your fellow pastors? Your kids? You?
- Don’t assume they know that you are encouraged by them – tell them. When we see evidences of grace in others, we shouldn’t assume that they are aware of them. Tell them. Be a fountain of encouragement.
- Don’t assume they aren’t looking at porn.
- Don’t assume they are giving to the mission.
- Don’t assume they are communing with God.
Bear But Don’t Police
We need to bear each others burdens and spur each other to change in light of the Gospel. In those we care for, are we asking proper questions about what is going on that you don’t see? How’s the bedroom? How’s their finances? Are they happy? Are they experiencing the joy of the Lord? Ask the real questions. Move from practical (How are the kids? How’s work? etc…) and get to the personal (How are you doing with ____? Do you perceive your sin in this situation? Are you mad at God? etc…).
We aren’t to be the police but we aren’t to be passive either. If we really want to care, we have to kill assumptions.
Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.