I read an article by author William Easum with very good advice for believers: “Throughout my consulting ministry, I have seen a disturbing pattern: Most established churches are held hostage by bullies. Some individual or small group of individuals usually opposes the church’s making any radical change, even if it means the change would give the church a chance to thrive again.”

Courageous pastors often ask, “What do I do when one or two persons intimidate the church so much that it is not willing to try something new?” My response is always “Either convert them, neutralize them, or kick them out. . . . The Body cannot live with cancer.” To which someone usually cries, “That’s not very Christian!”

However, my response reflects much of the wisdom of both the Old Testament and Jesus. Maturing Christians love so deeply that they will do anything, even not be nice, “for the sake of the gospel.” Jesus was so compassionate toward others that He could not remain quiet when He saw the religious leaders holding others in bondage.

Sometimes in order to do what’s right, we have to do what doesn’t seem “nice”—it’s called “taking a stand.” It’s not very fun, it doesn’t win you many friends, and you’re often the target of criticism. However, if you truly love God, there will be times when this is the only course of action.

If you truly love God and desire to serve Him, you’ll be willing to be Christian, even if it isn’t nice.

I’m convinced that one of the main sins of the Church is that we have taught ourselves to be nice instead of Christian. — William Easum

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder