Warning Signs of Coming Danger:
Proverbs 6:14, "Frowardness [is] in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord. Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy."
I. Their Previous Track Record.
A. While In School --- On Their Job --- In A Social Club --- In Other Churches (Church Hopper) --- etc.
B. You might Expect these people to Keep Silent about their past lest they are Detected --- they can be Very Irrational about this --- they will Tell You about it.
C. Their Grandiose (haughty, showy) natures cause them to believe that Everyone will wholeheartedly Support their activities --- They Are Convinced that No One Could Possibly Disagree with them.
II. The Nameless Others.
A. All Leaders Receive Criticism From Time To Time --- Sometimes The Criticism Is Valid, Helpful, And Legitimate.
B. However, When Someone Adds, "There Are X Number of "Others" Who Feel The Same Way" --- Chances Are That You Are Talking With A "Sower of Discord."
1. These "others" may be Phantoms of the "Sower of Discord's" imagination.
2. Actually, whether they exist or not Is Immaterial.
C. Now listen to me --- Individuals who are Not "Sowers of Discord" --- Don't Need to talk about "all the others" who feel the same way --- they are Man Enough to simply Express Their Own thoughts and feelings.
III. Denouncing Your Predecessor While Praising You At The Same Time.
(Someday you may be the former leader)
IV. The Instant Buddy Characteristic.
(Here, again, is where some will Deliberately Exaggerate and Misinterpret what I am saying --- but I must take that chance.)
A. They relate to New People in an Overly Friendly manner.
B. One Very Vulnerable group on whom "Sowers of Discord" focus their attention is New Members.
New pastor --- Missionaries --- Evangelist --- Visitors...
1. While being among the First to invite you to Dinner --- they spend much time and effort Probing you and trying to become Intimately Acquainted.
2. You immediately like, enjoy, and feel comfortable around this person --- he is so Captivating - Delightful - Pleasant - and Charming --- that you have no reason to Withhold anything in your conversation with him.
3. They are champions at Lobbying.....
4. Why do they heap Excessive praise and attention on you.
a. Jude 16, "...they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage."
b. Their praise and attention often will turn to Criticism Later.
C. Before you become critical of what I have just said; remember what we have already discussed about Deliberately Exaggerating and Misinterpreting what a person says.
V. The "I Gotcha" Game.
A. They try to Catch You In Error --- Ask You questions when you know They Already Know the answer.
B. The Pharisees and Sadducees attempted to entrap Jesus with Similar Deceitful Questions.
C. 2 Tim. 2:23, "But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes."
VI. The Flashing Dollar Sign $$$.
(Not referring to those generous individuals who are Inconspicuous in their giving --- but to those who Make A Public Display of their generosity)
VII. The Insincere Jokester.
A. Uses Sharp, Cutting language such as Sarcasm or a barbed comment Disguised As A Joke.
B. When some people are funny, it is nearly always At Somebody's Expense.
C. They can always say, "Sorry, I was just being funny. I certainly meant no offense."
D. And it won't be long --- just long enough for you to turn your back --- until they throw some more "funny" darts at you.
E. They do not take other people's feelings very seriously.
VIII. Warning Signs of Coming Danger --- A Chill In Your Relationship.
A. When He Exhibits Changes In His Manner of Relating To You, Beware.
1. He shows Disrespect toward you --- using Biting Sarcasm --- openly Ridiculing your leadership --- Defying your authority..
2. He has a Condescending Attitude.
B. He Is Determined To Gain The Upper Hand And Discredit You In Front of Others.
1. Blocking the approval of matters that ordinarily glide through business meetings with ease.
2. He has a growing Resistance and Independent spirit.
IX. Warning Sign of Coming Danger --- Prayer Request --- "I Have A Concern."
A. To wage an effective campaign, he must Gather Support and create discord, conflict, and doubt --- by:
1. Activities, as innocent as Whispering to others during a meeting.
2. Calling Unofficial Meetings, usually not held at the church.
3. Destructive, Insinuating Gossip strategically directed against key people.
4. The Telephone is a ready tool:
a. "I'm just calling To Check some things out."
b. "I have some 'Serious Concerns' and just wanted to see if anyone else is worried."
B. As a result, Others could indeed become Critical, swept along by the "Sower of Discord."
X. Warning Sign of Coming Danger --- Meddling In Areas That Are Not His Concern.
A. They are on one committee but show an unusual interest in another committee's work.
B. When someone is elected to a Position They Once Held --- they will refuse to allow that person to do their job.
1. Again, I am about to be misunderstood --- but I must take that chance.
2. They must have their hands in Everything that goes on in the church.
C. It Doesn't Matter that it is Not their committee --- it's Not their S.S. class --- it's Not their social --- it's Not their age group.....
1. They Must Be Involved In Everything that anyone else is involved in.
2. You see, It Is Their Church --- and they want to see that it Stays That Way --- They love a small church and don't want it to Out Grow Them.
3. If the church gets Large enough that they can't possibly be involved in everything --- they Feel Left Out --- their Feelings Are Hurt --- and they Will Let You Know about it.
XI. Warning Sign of Coming Danger --- Spying.
A. He or she might Telephone to see where you are or even Follow You.
(If you have your Office In Your Home --- how are we going to know where you are during the day?)
B. They will ask all kinds of Personal Questions in order to check up on you.
(The church and pastor must decide whether their pastor is a Man of God Called By God and the church is supporting him in his ministry - or - if he is a Hired Hand With A Job Description.)
XII. Warning Sign of Coming Danger --- Lying --- Distoring --- Misquoting --- Etc.
A. People Who Lie, About Anything, Tend To Be More Antagonistic Than Those Who Don't.
B. They will frequently Distort reports of incidents, leaving enough Grains of Truth to maintain Credibility.
C. "Judas Kissing" --- "I am your friend, but this is just something that I have to do."
D. Pretense --- They portray themselves as Champions of The Underdog, or as underdogs Themselves.
1. They claim to be the most Mistreated and Misunderstood people in the church --- they were Just Concerned --- trying to be helpful.
2. If you fall for that line, I have a Bridge In New York I would like to sell you.
A. Churches Should Be Places Of God's Peace And Power Ministering effectively to the world --- without the disruptive influence of "Sowers of Discord."
B. However, sooner or later most congregations experience some degree of destructive conflict caused by "Sowers of Discord."
1. Such conflict, though Caused By so Few, has the potential to Disrupt, even to Destroy God's work.
2. "Sowers of Discord" leave in their wake Broken Lives and people who are Hurt, Discouraged, and Apathetic toward the Lord's Church.
C. "Sowers of Discord" should Not Be Confused with Constructive Criticism or Healthy Conflict in the church.
1. Conflict Is Neutral, it can be: --- good or bad --- healthy or unhealthy --- creative or destructive.
2. An organization with No Conflict at all (and I don't know of one) must have either No Purpose at all or, at best, a very frivolous purpose.
3. The church would do well to adopt the terminology of the British Parliament, calling those in differing camps the "Honorable Opposition."
D. However, "sowing of discord" is Unhealthy Conflict and it's behavior is Not Honorable.
1. "Sowers of Discord" --- On the basis of non-substantial evidence --- go out of their way to Attack the Person or Performance of others.
a. They quibble over straws.
b. They provide strong proof for Inconsequential (mote) points.
c. They Exaggerate the opponent's position.
2. They make assertions which Cannot Be Disproved and then claim that the inability to disprove them make them true.
3. It is Impossible to disprove a Negative.
4. They Initiate Trouble; they do not wait for trouble to come to them.
5. These attacks are Selfish and Destructive in nature, tearing down rather than building up.
E. While the world ought to be able to say about Christians, "See how They Love One Another" --- they usually say, "They Fight More Than The Rest of Us Put Together.!"
A Search For The Truth