“The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance, leading to the knowledge of the truth…” (Second Timothy 2:24-25)
In Lynne Olson’s Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941, I found this interesting depiction of Harold Ickes, a member of FDR’s cabinet during the Second World War:
“According to T. H. Watkins, Ickes’ biographer, ‘a world without something in it to make him angry would have been incomprehensible to him.’ A disgruntled Republican senator who had been the target of one of Ickes’ verbal assaults called him ‘a common scold puffed up by high office.’ To one cabinet colleague, Ickes was ‘Washington’s tough guy.’ To another, he was the ‘president’s attack dog.’”
Olsen tells how an assistant secretary of state once refused to shake hands with Mr. Ickes and described him in his diary as “fundamentally, a louse.”
Having such an irritating person in high government office is one thing; having them in church leadership is quite another.
She had a reputation for being a strong witness for the Lord, even to the point of teaching classes on faith-sharing.
One day I called her office following up on something her boss had told me.
I was amazed by her reaction.
“He did not tell you that!” she said.
When I insisted gently that this is precisely what her employer had said, she grew stubborn and let me know in no uncertain terms that I was badly mistaken.
The conversation ended quickly.
I never told her boss about that, but the memory lingers with me to this day.
The incident has remained as a reminder that sometimes the Lord’s children who have a reputation as strong and effective witnesses for Christ are driven less by His love than by an abrasive and domineering personality.