PO Box 239, Pratt, KS 67124

Mental Problem or Spiritual Problem?

This week’s article is a question by FBSN member J.A. Next week will be an answer from another FBSN member.

Here is J’s story.

About a year ago, I shared challenges my church has faced in dealing with disturbing behavior by congregants.  Recent events caused me to revisit this topic.

An elderly man – I’ll call him “Bob,” has attended my church intermittently.  He comes for a few months, disappears a year or two, then returns.  He distributes handwritten flyers around town to anyone who will take them.  The last time he disappeared was after our pastors met with him and told him to cease and desist with the flyer distribution.  Why?  Because he had written the name of our church on the flyers and outlined our churches’ doctrine of polygamy.  The problem is, our church does not practice, teach, believe, promote, or preach polygamy.

Prior to this, I had given Bob a ride from time to time, because I saw him struggling through the snow, carrying an enormous Bible, and felt sorry for him.  When I learned he had told our pastors, “the Lord told me I am to have 40 wives and concubines, and they are all to come from this church,” I also ceased and desisted with the rides.

Bob returned two months ago.  He started giving our senior pastor handwritten letters, many pages long, at the conclusion of most services.  They were written in tiny script almost impossible to read.  Our pastor showed me one of the notes.  They were the ramblings of a madman.

Last week, Bob cornered the senior pastor’s wife, and grabbed her.  He tried to shove another letter in her face.  “The church needs to hear this!  You need to read this!”  She screamed for help, and several people rushed to her aid.  They “laid hands” on Bob and escorted him from the building, telling him he needed to leave, right now.  We followed this up with a letter stating that if he returns, he will be trespassing, and police will be called.

Think About it

Once again, I wonder did we do the right thing?  On one hand, Bob clearly needs God and deliverance.  On the other hand, his behavior escalated to the point we feared for the safety of our pastors and congregants.

It may be cliché, but in cases like this, I wonder:  What would Jesus do?

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