The story of Absalom saddens me greatly (2 Samuel 13-18). This handsome young caretaker and avenger of his victimized sister turns on his father, King David. In a clever attempt to overtake his father’s kingdom, he stands outside the city gates and inquires about the needs of those who need to see the king. He offers, “If I were the king/judge I would do [this and that].” Then, his young life ends in almost a comical turn, as his hair is caught in branches while fleeing the king’s men on a mule, then stabbed to death as he is left hanging mid-air by his hair.
People are complicated, aren’t they?
Absalom had some great qualities, but along the way his mind became twisted and he attacked the very person who probably loved him the most. So it is not hard to think that if someone like Absalom could cause so much trouble for one kingdom, that a woman we serve through women’s ministry can bring equal destruction and distraction to the kingdom of God with an equally critical spirit like Absalom’s.
You know these women.
They are the ones who are never completely on-board with your direction. They ask questions, not for clarification, but to cause doubt in your leadership abilities. They like to critique everything you do from what you wear to what you plan in women’s ministry. And they don’t stop there—they like sharing their disdain for you and your leadership from these observations. And like Absalom, they may even make comments about how they would lead women’s ministry better than you.
In the worst case scenario, they form their own following who will divide themselves from your efforts and the other women in the church to do their own thing.
So, what to do?
Here are some steps I recommend for dealing with an Absalom spirit:
- As soon as you get a hint of this attitude, don’t ignore it.
- Begin to include this person in the planning of events. What??? More than likely, she wants to be a part of this ministry, but hasn’t found her spot. She doesn’t have to be added to your team officially, but you could use her as someone to survey for thoughts on different initiatives. If you can use her energy in a positive manner, it may defuse her negativity; It’s hard to criticize something you have had a hand in planning, right?
- Be kind to this person and try to build a relationship with her. Once she realizes what a great person you are, she will find it difficult to be needlessly critical and divisive.
- Should none of these approaches work, you will want to schedule a meeting with her. Matthew 5:23-24 says that if we know someone has something against us, we should initiate a discussion with the end game being reconciliation. Humility and good listening skills will be necessary. Don’t be defensive or emotional. Simply provide her with your thought processes and facts that she may not be aware of. Hopefully, you can come to a place where you see eye to eye and move forward in peace, love and unity.
- Should she continue on to be extremely divisive and destructive, elevate the situation to the pastor you report to, and let him provide you with some other ideas, or handle himself.
- Pray, Pray, Pray…for her (Okay, maybe this should have been Step 1).
If you would like to follow this series on Detecting and Defusing 4 Opposing Spirits to Women’s Ministry, click here.
” And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,” Hebrews 10:24
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