Lord, Is My Heart Tender? - Part One
"You know, Brother K.P., one of the hardest things I have to deal with is to sit in front of a man who has done awful, stupid things in his life or ministry yet has no conviction of sin. Even if he is caught, he acts as if there is no problem and simply asks for a transfer. I am weary of it."
These were the exact words of a senior pastor whose denomination appointed him as a counselor for its pastors, elders and churches across several nations.
Many respected mission agencies report record attrition rates of up to 80 percent for their well-trained, postgraduate field workers. Most barely survive their second term, and only a few make it past their third. The number-one reason for leaving the mission field is not death threats from an anti-Christian community or lack of funds, but personal relationship conflicts. They simply can't get along with their coworkers or the leadership.
Recent studies have estimated the divorce rate among born-again Christians in America to be anywhere from 35 percent to as high as 72.5 percent. Incidentally, the likelihood of divorce appears to be identical for both believers and non-believers. Most couples file for divorce not because of a spouse's infidelity, but because of incompatibility. Again, it's a relationship problem that destroys the foundation of our families and fills our prisons with delinquent teenagers.
Since these reports are not about secular society but represent the condition of the church at large, we must ask ourselves, What's wrong with our hearts that we would produce such a poor testimony?
It seems our hearts are no longer tender toward God, our brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ or our spouses and families. At the center of each of these relationship problems is our unwillingness to humble ourselves and take responsibility for our sin. Instead, we fight and manipulate others to protect our spiritual self-image.
The phrase "I have sinned against you with my words, attitude or response" comes only with great difficulty over our lips. We find it much easier to say, "I just made a dumb mistake . . . forget it."
What's missing in our so-called repentance is the deep sorrow the prodigal son had when he realized how much he had hurt the heart of his father. It caused him to lay aside all pretense and self-protection and confess with a broken heart, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight" (Luke 15:21).
Dr. K.P. Yohannan
Founder & Director of Gospel for Asia