John Winters took seriously his job as church board chairman. He had definite ideas about how church affairs should be run. He said that nothing but the best could be tolerated in Christian work.
Once, when he felt the pastor was undercutting his efforts to maintain a high standard, John came close to an open conflict with him. He had engaged in arguments in other churches, and had left amidst controversy, but he liked his present church. He didn’t want to leave, thought he felt that integrity might force him to do so.
In counseling with Henry, Henry had John consider that the sort of person who is hard driver becomes frustrated when others will not meet his standards, has difficulty in working with others in authority, and tends to retreat after publicly showing his anger.
John was wise enough to see that these characteristics marked his life inside and outside of the church.
His relationship with his wife, for example, had been strained for years. He had resented the money that his wife’s mother gave them. He had once threatened to burn $1,000 but when dared to, he backed down. He had been bitter ever since that his own earnings were not enough to please his wife.
As John began to let God direct his thinking, he realized that the church had been getting along reasonably well before he entered the picture. It was just a step further for him to see that his problem with other people lay within himself.
As he accepted this, he began to show more humility. The smoldering trouble between him and his wife started to come into focus, and it appeared a bit ridiculous. As he continued to read God’s Word, he began to recognize that his short temper was essentially because he liked things his own way and had a lack of love in his life for other people. One day he read 1 John 4:20, ”If a man says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar.” It struck him between the eyes–and in the heart.
John Winter decided he ought to become more interested in people that in what he expected of them. He repented of his pride and determined, by God’s help, to humbly accept others for who they were. Rather than try to force them to fit his mold, he would allow God to work in their lives to make them what He wanted them to be. Out of John’s confession came a change that not only transformed his own life, but was the beginning of a revival in his church.
The names and certain details in this story have been changed to protect each person’s identity and privacy.