Bishop Dag Heward-Mills
Our nation will be a blessed nation if our leaders knew what to say and what audience to say what to. Let us look at the example of Jesus.
A leader must learn to speak more or less, depending on who he is speaking to. Jesus Christ spoke for hours when he was surrounded by eager listeners. People came from miles around to hear and to be healed. He would preach for hours until people could not go back home.
And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.
And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret…
When Jesus was in the presence of people who hated and scorned him, he said nothing. He knew that time would tell it all.
Three People Jesus Refused to Speak To
1. Jesus had nothing to say to the religious leaders.
And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But he held his peace, and answered nothing…
2. Jesus had nothing to say to the governor, Pontius Pilate.
And Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answering said unto him, Thou sayest it. And the chief priests accused him of many things: but he answered nothing. And Pilate asked him again, saying, Answerest thou nothing? Behold how many things they witness against thee. But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marvelled.
3. Jesus had nothing to say to Herod.
And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time. And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.
And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him.
These were people who hated Jesus and he knew it. He knew that nothing he said would change their minds. I would rather follow the example of Jesus than to follow the guidance of a communications expert. I have left many matters to God and to time. He can best answer every accusation. You will notice that Jesus was accused vehemently, but refused to comment or respond to these accusations. It was not that Jesus could not speak. We see how he preached the Sermon on the Mount. We see how he taught at the seaside. We see how he preached so long that he had to feed the people afterwards.
Many pastors and leaders feel the need to attend interviews and discussions.
They feel that they are obligated to clear their name and to improve their image. Mind you, I am not saying that it is wrong for pastors to speak to the press or to be interviewed. What I am saying is that Jesus did not bother to speak to hostile, disapproving interviewers who would never change their minds anyway. I would advise every minister to follow the example of Jesus Christ.
Three Reasons Why Pastors Are Not Obliged to Speak to the Press
1. The media has no power to make or destroy a minister of the gospel.
I know that many media men think that they have that power. Pilate also thought that he had power to destroy or establish Jesus.
Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?
But Jesus corrected him.
Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.
In the same way, many press men feel that they have the power to destroy a man of God or a church if they want to. No one has the power to do anything unless God allows it. If Jesus had thought His ministry was being destroyed by those unanswered accusations, he would have spoken out. Learn this secret; no human being can destroy what God has built. Those accusations only serve as a basis for the future judgement of those liars. It may seem as though they have destroyed something, but in reality no one can destroy God’s handiwork.
2. Pastors must reserve their words for their congregations who will truly appreciate them.
Pastors must know that the appropriate forum for ministering is in the church and not to scoffing; scornful talk show hosts who despise their very existence.
When hostile interviewers who were already biased questioned Jesus, he explained to them that He had nothing new to say. He had said all he had to say in church already.
The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples and of his doctrine. Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always result; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold they know what I said.
Such an answer would annoy most reporters. Indeed, it irritated the men of that day.
And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so? Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?
3. There is no need for a pastor to justify himself to men.
If you are acceptable to God there is no need to appear pleasing to human society. Efforts to make yourself more acceptable to human beings may actually incur the displeasure of God.
And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
We will continue to pray for our leader to follow the example of Jesus when it comes to what to say, when to speak and to whom.
By Dag Heward-Mills