Sermon Illustrations

Consider the following exchange…

“That’s easy for you to say; you’ve never been through what I’m dealing with!”

“Yes, I think you’re right. Certainly, I do not know just how you feel. In fact, no one has ever experienced the exact same thing you are going through. No one ever will. No one, of course, other than Jesus. He knows exactly how you feel.”

“So, how can you sit there and tell me to apologize?”

“Because it’s the right thing to do. Independent of your feelings and independent of your circumstances, it’s the right thing to do. In this case, the past does not matter. This time around it was you that seriously messed up. She did not deserve the verbal assault you unleashed.”

“Yeah, but...”

Yeah, but... How many times had the pastor heard that before?

It was late. The pastor’s eyes itched from too many hours. His head felt that nagging, dull ache prophesying a full-blown migraine. How much longer would the other man drone on about how justified his actions toward his wife had been? How many more “yeah buts” could he endure? How many more passages of Scripture would it take to convince him that verbally abusing his wife was wrong, just plain wrong?

“Pastor, I can’t. I won’t. I’m finished. I’m not going to put up with her anymore?”

“You’re not going to put up with her!!!? Who do you think you are,” the pastor yelled. “Haven’t you heard anything I’ve said!!!?”

Silence. Like a dagger, sin stabbed the pastor’s heart. What had he done? How could he have lost his temper? What would he say? What should he say? Silence. More silence.

“Perhaps I should leave now,” the other man said.

“Yes, perhaps you should,” the pastor answered.



“It’s okay pastor. I understand.”

Really? Do you suppose he truly understood? Or did he just recognize that, like himself, the pastor was capable of losing his temper? Had anything been resolved concerning his own problem? Had he come to grips with his own sin toward his wife? Unfortunately, probably not.

Whether we want to admit it or not, there are times when the responsibility for a breach in a relationship lies with us. The man had guilt on his hands toward his wife. The pastor now had guilt on his hands toward the man.

Ricki Lee Brooks

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