1 Timothy 5: 17 - "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine."
This generation has witnessed a shocking increase of preachers and lay leaders being fired or mistreated for small, (often exaggerated) reasons. Certainly when a leader sins, he or she must be dealt with. Yet today, many churches have forgotten the biblical principle of respect and honor for those who lead the church. In many churches, the Holy Spirit is quenched because the congregation has sinned against a pastor or church leader.
When churches experience revival, they often must seek forgiveness from pastors or leaders they may have mistreated. Many churches may also need to ask forgiveness from a former pastor or lay leader. (In other cases, pastors must ask the forgiveness of churches they have wronged.)
A glorious and growing trend is the number of churches that are getting right with other congregations that formed as "a split" from their own. This does not mean churches have to reunite, but it does mean they must fully forgive past offenses. Until you get right with those you fought in the past, there will not be full blessing on your church or your life!
Questions for Reflection: Have you been critical or slanderous of Christian leaders? Do you fail to respect and honor those called to lead the church? Do you undermine their authority? Do you tend to "pick them apart' rather than give consistent encouragement and prayer support? Are there leaders or other believers with whom you've parted on angry terms? Do you tend to slander or mock other denominational groups, ministries or leaders who may not agree with you on every point? God will not fill your life until such sins are fully confessed and forsaken!
Personal Reflection on Sins of Speech
Even as we confess and forsake our many sins divisive, slanderous and contentious speech, let us rejoice in God's full acceptance. (Romans 8: 1; 1 John 1: 9) His mercy is higher than the heavens!