Posted by: Botolff | May 1, 2009

Some of us had pretty good noses.

In the winter times during high school, occasionally my friend’s “dad” would take the two of us rabbit hunting and bring along a beagle.  We were far more excited for the hunt when we knew the beagle was going to be taking the lead.  Why?  Because the beagle’s natural hunting skills, in tandem with it’s training, became the best eyes and nose in the woods.  After heading out into the thickest brush and bramble, he had an incredible ability to sort out the fresh trails from the old trails, figure out which direction the rabbit was going last, find it and chase it out into the open field.  All the while, he was bellowing out so that we could tell where he was, which direction he was headed, how fast he was moving, and where to likely expect the rabbit to come out into the open. 

Check out this YouTube video of beagles chasing rabbits.  Don’t worry, no animals were shot or shot at in the making of this film…

Some of the wounded ministers I have talked to got pushed or thrown out of their churches because they had good noses.  They tracked down the “rabbit(s)” hiding in the brush of their churches, and began to alert the people around them that they were on the trail of something unhealthy holed up in the ministry they were working for.  Maybe it was a deceptive, manipulative or abusive leader, spouse, parent, congregant, lay worker.  Perhaps they picked up on some improprieties or mismanagement.  Maybe it was just an awareness of a unstable leadership structure or poor way of caring for people.  Whatever the case, the rabbit didn’t want to be spotted or come out; maybe because of it’s own fear of being shot. 

Certainly none of us want to be exposed if we’re ashamed of what we’ve done or are doing.  Adam and Eve again are a classic example of that.  However, if we can’t learn to acknowledge our own shortcomings, inabilities, mistakes…sin, then there is no chance of having a healthy relationship with anyone, or any chance of healing and restoration in the ones that have been damaged.  Even more, out of our own fear and need for control, we will become the rabid rabbits that are driven to anihilate anyone or anything that threatens to expose our hiding place.

I strongly hold to the view that if people are willing to risk confessing their “shtuff”, if it is an appropriate relationship to have, we had better be be willing to risk meeting them there and walk through it with them.  And if we aren’t willing to be humble enough to own our sin, damage will continue to be done until we are sniffed out of our holes.

If you’re part of a ministry where someone was forcefully terminated, you should consider the possibilty that they got their nose too close to the hole.  And as difficult as it may be to believe and accept, maybe the rabbit threw you off the trail by the direction he/she headed in the process of getting rid of your minister.  Those rabbits are often truly rascally.


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