Different People, Different Responses

Just a quick post to say that I’ve had two phone calls today with two different people on two different subjects. In one phone call I was being told of criticisms over the delivery of something I’d said. In the second phone-call I was told that some-one who I respect greatly was “a huge fan of yours Peter”. Curious… Both phone-calls stemmed from communications I received on Wednesday, which was interesting because our lectionary reading that morning was from 2 Cor 2:5-17, which includes these verses:

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.

If there’s one thing I’m learning about leadership at the moment it’s that you can’t please everybody all the time. But I think Paul’s message here is deeper – when we communicate the word of God, some people are going to get upset. In fact, you can preach a flawless sermon (not that I have ever done that – or expect to) and still people will get upset, because the word of God divides and strikes home to us the truth about who we are. As we seek to communicate the Word in the 21st century, people are going to misunderstand us and perhaps not get what we’re saying. And I’m as guilty as the next person of sometimes hearing what I think someone said rather than actually listening to the person.

Right, that’s off my chest. We’re heading to Canterbury where it’s Gayle’s grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary. Perhaps I’ll find time to drop in on “the bearded one” to ask him how he feels when people take a dig at him?

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