I used to tell my pastoral counseling students, “Your people will come to you for counsel about marriage, kids, jobs, decisions—all kinds of things, but almost no one will ever ask you to help them with their souls. Don’t let that throw you off. It’s always about their souls.” So it is when we seek God’s counsel. God always starts with our souls.
There are holy people in this beleaguered congregation, I realized. Noble, splendid, high-born people of God who will help keep me safe and be the delight of my life. I wrote the date, 2/98, in the margin.
Over the years, we’ve all known some difficult and even dangerous troublemakers in our congregations but wolves are rare, at least in my experience. As Paul intimates, they tend to emerge from church leadership—pastors, elders, or teachers—people positioned to lead others astray. We ourselves are not immune. You or I could become our own worst enemy.