Forgive Me for Being So Judgmental!
I was in Beruri, deep in the Amazon. My team had arrived and I was immediately impressed by the number of church leaders enrolled in our training center there. I was excited to meet the men and women God was raising up, and I started interviewing them personally.
As I heard their stories, I have to confess I wasn’t terribly impressed. Their stories didn’t seem complete – and I started thinking, “Oh no! Are these really the church leaders we are investing in? Are these the right people?”
Some of these believers were from unreached cultures in the jungle – many of them didn’t have any context to understand ministry leadership or even basic biblical morality. And how would they know about any of that? Isn’t that why they were seeking out training? That’s when felt the Lord reminding me of Mark 2:17: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
So, despite my initial worry, I began teaching our class on “Pastoral Ministry” – and I started to sense the Holy Spirit moving there, in the room, with those students. We could feel His presence! I could see tears in their eyes. I could feel tears in my own eyes. Just talking about calling, character, holiness — that we have a need for godly men and women in our churches today. And that was just our first evening together.
The next day, one of our church leaders came to me and asked for a private meeting. We found a quiet place and sat down. He began to share: “As you were teaching us last night, I felt the true love of God for me for the very first time in my life!”
He continued, “Pastor Fernando, I actually grew up in a church and I’m a church planter today. But I have to confess that I have always felt fear from my past sins and unfit to be used by God because of them. Yesterday, when I got back home I could not do anything but get down on my knees and pray. My wife came to the room and saw me praying, and she also joined me in prayer. For me, everything changed last night!”
I couldn’t help pray as well, “Okay God, please forgive me for being so judgmental! For a moment I forgot that You are changing this place by changing the hearts of these people,” and I felt the Lord graciously saying to me again, “Fernando, I am doing amazing things here… just be faithful to Me and follow Me”.