A pastor friend of mine didn't want to confront a mean church member who was wrecking havoc in the church and his ministry. He believed that it was not the Christian thing to do. He wrongly believed that love for his enemies meant allowing himself to be pushed around. I tried in vain to explain to him that Jesus didn't play nice with the Pharisees. He was direct, confrontational, and even called them "white washed tombs" (Matthew 23:27).
With some people, you just can't play nice. In my beginning years of ministry, I had an evangelist tell me, "You've got to run over them before they run over you." That was harsh I thought. But he had seen me kowtowing to a member who was critical of the evangelist and of me receiving a love offering for him each night. The member said harshly, "One love offering for the week is sufficient. He's getting too much money with these every night offerings."
Nevertheless, the revival was a soaring success. We had to extend the meeting to an extra night. The church was packed every night. Many were saved and professed faith in Christ. The Sunday after the revival, I baptized about 12 new believers.
Such people like this sour member are stingy, mean-spirited, fault finders, and dream stealers. They are miserable and want you to be as miserable as they are! My dad used to say, "Misery loves company."
As a pastor, I felt it my God given duty to play nice with malicious, spiteful people in my church. Yes, there are those kinds of people in the church. Paul dealt with them often. In 1 Corinthians 5:11, he says to not associate with such people. "I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people." Church bullies fall into at least two categories in this list. They are greedy because they demand their own way instead of Christ's way, and they are slanderers because they are verbally abusive especially in their unreasonable demands. Confront them. Get rid of them. Stop playing nice.
The "not nice" people in church demand their own way and weasel themselves into power positions in the church. Every church has power brokers who run the church. I have been blessed over the years to have godly, kind leaders who wanted the church to grow and go forward. On the other hand, I have had those in my church who were power brokers and resisted every program and ministry I began to try and increase and grow the kingdom of God in faith and in evangelism.
I remember a man who I knew to be a negative trouble making bully. The deacons felt he should be on the board because he had never served and was a life long member of that church. I begged and pleaded for them not to put him on the board and elevate him to a position of power. They did anyway. To make a long story short, he fought me in everything good I tried to do for the Lord and for that church to try and increase and grow the church. This contentious new deacon recruited others and persuaded his group that I needed to be fired. He recruited members who rarely if ever attended church to attend this business meeting to vote me out. He made the motion to fire me. The discussion that followed was ugly and hateful. Those who I thought supported me turned against me. But, many spoke out for me and against the motion. The vote was taken. About 30 percent voted to fire me. About 65 percent voted to retain me. The rest abstained.
The fall out from that meeting cleansed the church. Most of the mean-spirited members got madder and left. For a while, attendance was down, but then it took off as my programs, outreach, and ministry were implemented without resistance. The church grew like a wildfire! It was amazing.
You can't play nice with mean people. Paul advised Titus, "