My dearest, dreadful Grubnat,
I have read your report with great interest and am not dissuaded in the least that your client has not responded well to our previous tack of desiring his congregation’s pleasure, and in fact is more predisposed to not caring what they think at all. You should remember from primary school the very basic lesson that any one idolatry has at least two doors of entry. If your client cannot be led to feed on his pride through the front door of people-pleasing and what the Enemy calls “fear of man” take him by his nose around to the service entrance.
Our Enemy looked at the shepherdless sheep and felt compassion (for some inexplicable reason). Your client appears easily manipulated into seeing his sheep and feeling irritated. So let us go with that. Let us count some ways this may be accomplished:
Your patient is an introvert, yes? Feed him more and more information about how utterly draining people are, how ungifted he is to care for them, and how it is actually Enemy-glorifying for him to operate according to his personality type, others be damned.
A wee bit of truth there, of course, but mixed in with his fleshly aversion to being bothered will make a potent combination in the service of his neglect of the congregation. Before too long he will be refusing to counsel or visit or even disciple, seeing it all as “outside his area” or against the grain of his “calling.” Pastors often love these categories because they make good barriers. What the Enemy calls the gifts of his Spirit sometimes make excellent rocks and trees for his people to hide behind in abdication of obedience to him.
One of the Enemy’s servants — the one we refer to endearingly, regretfully as The One That Got Away — has instructed his fellow workers to “shepherd the flock of God that is among you” (1 Peter 5:2). It sounds like common sense but what is very common among clients like yours is the wish for a flock other than the one they’ve got. Put it in his ear that he should have a different flock, a better flock, a bigger flock, what-have-you and so on. Poke his heart away from the flock he has and toward the idealization of the flock he wants. This will make him hate the messiness of ministry and the slow-going nature of sanctification all the more, making him hate his people all the more.
Speaking of hearts, you want your client’s as hard and as shriveled as possible. The servant of the Enemy that gave us such fits — miserable Thornflesh has never quite been the same since his assignment to him; he’s been simply rocking back and forth in his cell for, lo, these 2,000 years muttering, “Couldn’t be shaken, couldn’t be won, couldn’t be shaken, couldn’t be won,” poor thing — instructs his flock on an open heart (2 Corinthians 6:11–13). Nothing could be more dangerous. If your patient’s heart is open, it will lead to more open hearts.
Attack, Grubnat, attack! Get his defenses up. What we are after is a thin skin and a hard heart, a closed heart. You appear to be well on your way to success in this area. Put that forked tongue in the fellow’s earhole and whisper sweet morsels of entitlement and elevation. In this mode, even the common benefits of his solitude — in study, in prayer — will dry up, funneled inward. An isolated, insulated pastor is a black hole for joy and compassion. Go with the grain of this man’s selfward bent, my infernal poppet. You will sabotage this sinner yet.
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