In our interpersonal dealings with folks, as long as people are happy with the rug they are standing on, they will not appreciate you or I trying to pull it out from under them – even if we really have a better rug for them, tug ever so gently, and try to convince them of how loving we are for tugging!
As long as people are happy with their rug, every attempt to persuade them about how bad their rug is, how unhelpful it is for them, how much better a rug you have for them, will be interpreted as an intrusive threat and a danger to their stability. (I like standing on my rug and you are making me lose my balance! Quit tugging, leave me alone!)
To work another metaphor: As long as people are happy with the religious horse they are riding, they won’t get off. It can be a really sick horse, and the kindest thing might be to put it down. But if they like the horse, and it is the only one they have to get to market, they will never shoot it. The kindest thing God can do for them is kill the horse. Only then will they be interested in an alternate ride. When the horse finally gives out, and drops from under them, leaving them in a heap of disillusionment, confusion, and despair, they are ready to listen.
To work another metaphor: Unless you realize you are sick, you will never appreciate the cure and the one bringing it. That is one reason why Jesus was crucified: “We’re not sick, we don’t need a cure, and we don’t need you telling us otherwise. For your efforts, we want you dead!” We should not be surprised when we experience “resistance” trying to introduce people to a better kingdom way.
Disillusionment in the Church
Disillusionment is God’s most faithful servant. He uses it to get people off their rugs and their horses. He uses it to motivate kingdom progress in our souls. When everything is “great” we are not too motivated for change. Let “greatness” shift into “not-so-greatness” and it is amazing how open we can become to His plan to move us on.
Our job is to be available to folks when the Holy Spirit starts to work dissatisfaction into their soul. We need to learn the Holy Spirit, season-sensitive art of knowing when to pull the rug out from under people! They must be willing to step off their rug, or bury their horse. When the horse finally drops out from underneath them, when the rug begins to look ratty, the things we have been trying so hard to try to persuade them about for so long (discouraging ourselves and annoying them along the way!), will finally be “seeable” and “hearable.” Until that season arrives, love prevails. Don’t tug on their rug.
Until that moment of Holy Spirit grace in a human soul, folks will defend to the maximum those things they are emotionally invested in as valuable. Your good intentions for them will be viewed adversarially: you and I will be the enemy. After all, to them, their rug is pretty and their horse is s fine ride. We will never convince them otherwise.
There are some things beyond our reach to accomplish. Only the Holy Spirit can do this. Our job is to tug when He is working!
God help us all to learn the art of timely rug-tugging and horse burying.
Editor’s Note: This is so true. After working with hundreds of leaders in the process of transition I have found that as long as the dead horse takes a step or two every once and awhile they will continue to ride it. I always thought crash and burns were bad but now I see it for what it really is. God’s Love for us! and those we influence. Jose BosqueCopyright 2013, Dr. Stephen R. Crosby, http://www.swordofthekingdom.com. Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references. For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Would you like to partner with us in distributing our materials and perhaps generate some income for yourself? Please go to http://www.stevecrosby.com for details of our Affiliate program. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? Thank you and God bless you.