My brother, Ray, told me of an incident that occurred in the mid-1970s. He said that he was working on a construction site and sat down in the sun to eat his lunch. As he chatted with one of the other workers on the project, the man opened his lunch box and lifted out a piece of paper. “What’s this?” he said. When he unfolded the paper, it revealed the scribblings of an unsigned five-word letter. It read: “I’m going to kill you.” Concerned, my brother asked why someone would want to kill him. At which point his fellow worker laughed and said, “I get this kind of stuff all the time. I used to be a radio talk-back host.” Then he screwed up the piece of paper and threw it away.
You have to wonder, in this age of where even “potential” incidences must be reported, if such a note would bring a site to a standstill. However, in 1975 most people were expected to let such nonsense just bounce off them.
There is no doubt that, unlike the Radio Host above, some temperaments are fragile. These we must protect as they grow strong enough to stand in times of trouble. Remaining fragile, under normal circumstances, is not Christ’s plan.
The devil makes everything personal. His goal is to wear our nerves thin and make us give up. That’s why Paul says, “Let us not become weary in doing good” (Galatians 6:9).
Stable churches do not confuse “toughness” with “hardness of heart.” Instead, their strength and power show through when they are kind, tender-hearted and forgiving. These are the very virtues that they see in Christ. He who was “meek and humble in heart,” endured the cruel cross. This is the toughness of the Saviour that churches aspire to emulate.
“Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God” (1 Samuel 23:16).