Below is a copy of what I shared with a fellow Christian after thieves broke in and stole some precious possessions. The remarks were made with a desire to intentionally pastor this family during a time when they rightfully feel angry and violated.
Pastors, we must remember that we play a role in the lives of the flock we under-shepherd. In season and out.
I was very sorry to hear about the break-in. I know you know the Scriptures that one day our material possessions will be destroyed by rust or moth or the flame of God’s refining fire. Even though you’ve probably known those Scriptures from childhood, you should not be quick to force yourself to look past the break-in and assume a posture of stoicism.
It is right to grieve and process. It is right to grieve and process in a way that is God-honoring.
Gratefully, Holy Spirit empowers and equips us to view our grief and emotions through the lens of Christ’s redemptive work.
It is right to…
1) be sad that those things for which you’ve worked hard were taken from you, against your knowledge and power
2) be sad for the presence of sin in the world that causes other humans who bear the Divine Image (Imago Dei) to act against God’s holy intent and purpose
3) be sad for a broken world that causes others to lack so deeply (economically and spiritually) that they look to provide for themselves by stealing from others
4) be sad for these thieves who are in need of spiritual repair
5) be glad that your once-spiritually-broken lives have been spiritually repaired in the atoning death and resurrection of Christ Jesus
6) be glad that His Spirit allows us to receive Divine forgiveness and extend that forgiveness to others
7) be glad His Spirit empowers us to pray for our enemies, even when we don’t feel like doing so
8) be glad that your prayers can directly affect the spiritual renewal of these thieves
9) be glad no one was home and put in harm’s way
10) be glad for having a good neighbour who keeps eyes on your place and understands the importance of community
11) be glad that you’re part of the Church; whereby, if you are in need of household items or emotional support, you can have that need fulfilled by your faith family
12) be glad that one day Jesus will return to make all things new. We will never again have to live in fear.
You mentioned you’ve made plans to build a fence around your house and install an alarm as a means of protection. I want to make one comment on the fence. Before I do, let me clarify: you must make decisions you feel are wise, as you walk in step with the Spirit considering your cultural context and family’s needs. Here’s my comment on the fence: please ask God if this is what you must do. I want to encourage you to consider the social and communal cost of enclosing yourself from the community and isolating yourself. Though the fence may provide a sense of security, will it come at the cost of placing a physical barrier between you and your neighbours? [The alarm makes complete sense.]
To be clear – and I hope you sense my tone of pastoral compassion – I’m not suggesting the fence is wrong. We don’t want to test God.
I’m just simply asking you to ask God if the fence may cause a physical barrier to your family being the light of the world on your street. God in His good and wise providence placed your family on that particular street, on that particular block, on that particular plot of land. Maybe the fence is the right thing to do, maybe it’s just an emotional knee-jerk reaction. I don’t know, and I won’t be the judge of that. Again, you must make that decision for your family. I’m just following through with a pastoral thought for you to consider; and thank you for extending such kindness and courtesy to me if you’re still reading this! 🙂
A final promise from our Lord:
Christ is our Light and our Salvation, whom shall I fear? Christ is the stronghold of my life, I will not be afraid. – Psalm 27.1-2
I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, LORD God, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4.8
Thank you for the privilege and honour of shepherding you and your family.
A fellow disciple and a fellow learner in the ways of Providing and Protecting as Husband and Father,