APOSTLE JOSHUA SELMAN COUNSEL TO YOUNG (SINGLE) MINISTERS ON DEALING WITH SISTERS
I think the issue of ladies and sisters is not limited to whether you are married or not, it is only minimized when you are married. The key is values and principles. It is to be able to put values first. I will submit to you that many people who have issues with sisters, the ladies don’t intentionally come to cause trouble. They are just being ladies. And ladies would generally want a shoulder, with all due respect to all the ladies following, there are few ladies that will actually get up intentionally and say “I want to destroy this brother”. There are people like that.
What I think is that the devil takes advantage of the vulnerability of both the leader and the people involved. For instance, you have a sister or someone in the church or the fellowship and you know about their background, you know about what they’ve gone through, you understand the peculiarity of their dealing and they’ve been opened to you on that wise, naturally you will be soft hearted towards such people, and even when they misbehave, from the lens of what you know about them, you will express a lot of compassion. Now, that compassion can become dangerous, that is why you must balance it with values.
Values like visitations, counselling – you don’t just invite sisters to say come to my house, come and help me cook rice, cook beans, it may not be sin but you are near Sodom. The Bible says when Lot left Abraham he didn’t go into Sodom, he stayed near Sodom, by the time Abraham would come to rescue Lot, he was in the middle of Sodom. So sometimes it is important to just have standards and values. I believe that when you have values and you are strict on it, even though many people may misunderstand you, but eventually you will get your desired goal.
It is more dangerous today because of the presence of social media. There are all kinds of platforms that creates connections and the devil is really out to see how he can discredit ministers and bring people down through this avenue.
The key is to set strict values. For instance, you can have a standard like, you will not counsel a single sister alone or in the night. I say this respectfully to the body of Christ, I think there is a bit of balance we need to put or add to what we know to be the communication of the grace of God because I think that if not checked a bit, that may be an area that the devil may take advantage of. If the concept of the grace of God is not properly understood it can become a license for licentiousness.
God does not condemn people but the consciousness of right and wrong is important. We have traffic lights even though we are intelligent people. The traffic light helps to bring coordination. Yes, there is a Grace of God that grants you ability to say no to certain things, but pragmatically speaking, you are also a psychological being, and biology and psychologic plays its role in our lives and sometimes creating some of these standards will help us.
If you are living with a lady that you are not married with, you don’t have to do anything wrong for it to destroy you. The psychological torture of the imagery you are giving room to, will frustrate your prayer life; will frustrate your concentration, will frustrate a lot of things. And then it will give room for so many things. Generally my encouragement for people especially we young ministers, most especially those who are single, is to create standards. Trust God to help you maintain these standards.
1. Be visionary.
In the Bible, vision helped people to stay on course. Lack of vision is what sponsors distraction. There is a way you can be so visionary, you look at your watch and it is eight in the morning, next time you check, it is 10pm. Because you are so engaged, you have sermons to prepare, you have several things to do. When you are excessively idle, you have to pick your phone, from checking a sermon you are checking a video you should not watch and from there you keep going until you are in Sodom.
2. Build a community of like minded people. Having a kingdom community is the key to sustaining kingdom values. Working in isolation is very dangerous. A community life creates a healthy system of checks and balances.
3. Practice periodic retreats.
I am shocked with all honesty at the fact that people can be busy in ministry for a very long time and not have time for retreats. I am not talking about the usual weekly retreats of just two hours where most of it you are sleeping. I mean, serious heartfelt retreat from the depth of your heart where you stay with God. When you are with God don’t tell lies. Don’t go to God as a man of God. You go to God sincerely.
It is easy for you to clap for me as Joshua Selman, but it is only God that knows the truth about me. So when I go to God (the one before whom I cannot hide), I say to God please deal with me and He says “be careful, lust is growing in your heart here, pride is growing in your heart here, pressures are mounting on you and your prayer life is not as it used to be”. I say “okay Lord thank you, supply the grace for the next level”. The key to being sustained in ministry is to be truthful to yourself, and when you go to God you have to be honest.
When you go to God as ‘MOG’ or as a colleague in ministry, very soon things will go bad. When I go to God, I go with an open heart and I go very sincerely – “search my heart truthfully oh God”. And anything God tells me, whether I have proof of it or not, I believe it. If I go to God and God tells me “you are an armed robber” I believe Him. I will not say to Him “whose money did I steal?”
I will start rolling on the ground and say “show me mercy before I disappoint myself”. Because God does not have future, His realm is now. When God speaks some of what he says may not be in your ‘now’. But it is a possibility that is enshrined in you like a DNA, so you kill it before it destroys you in the future. The key is honesty a d transparency. Human beings don’t have the fortitude to show mercy, so we must go to the one who is able to take us just as we are and build us.