A Gentle Heart

We’re currently seeking volunteers to be 333 Prayer Partners. They pray for 33 seconds three times a day for our church and their pastor. The 333 prayer request for 2005 is: let there be many house churches settled all over the world, and grant our pastor a gentle heart. I have mentioned the first part of the request in recent columns, so let me now explain the second.

I believe that a Christian minister should hate no one. He is in charge of the body of Christ, and Christ commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves. For him to hate someone would be contrary to the words of Jesus.

I myself don’t hate anyone. When I pray in the morning I often recite the Lord’s Prayer and meditate on each phrase. When I come to the section that says, “Forgive our sins as we forgive others'” I usually skip it because I feel that there’s no one I hate enough to forgive.

That’s what I thought. But recently, I realized that I actually did hate many people. I dislike quite a few people, and dislike is an expression of hate.

It must be terrible for people to be hated or disliked by their own pastor. So I have resolved to neither hate nor dislike anyone, particularly church members. I want to be a person our members can come to for love and support even when I scold or rebuke them.

To become a person like this I need a gentle heart. I’ve noticed a contrast between the facial expressions of American and Korean pastors. The former seem relaxed, but the latter have hard faces. The reason for this might be that Korean pastors are too tense. If I want to become a person others can come to for help and support without fear or reservation, my countenance needs to change. And for my countenance to change, my heart must change. I need a generous heart.

I expressed this desire to our congregation at our New Year’s Eve service. Since then I have tried to be a gentle person from the bottom of my heart. It’s not easy. I realized that I’ve put much effort into disciplining my tongue and my behavior, but I’ve neglected my heart. With prayer support from you and a constant effort on my part, I am confident that my heart will change. My prayer is that after a year, I become gentle enough for others to begin to see Christ in me.

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