Pastoral Letter


Dear Brethren,

It is so easy to develop a wrong attitude. We recognize that an undesirable attitude can impair our Ispiritual progress, growth, and above all, our relationship with God. It is undoubtedly one of the most essential areas in our lives we need to concentrate on as we prepare for our future roles in
the Family of God at Christ’s return. The dangers of wrong attitudes become more serious when:

  • We don’t realise that we have a wrong attitude – we just don’t recognise it in ourselves!
  • And even more critical, we stubbornly refuse to acknowledge that we have these attitudes which are contrary to clear Biblical teachings.
  • These mindsets may lead to an unrepentant frame of mind, which will undermine our relationship with God
  • We see wrong attitudes in others, but not in ourselves

Most of us are able to make a list of common wrong attitudes, and even find scriptures that define them. For instance, envy is one example. We may be envious when someone else in the congregation, at work, or in our family is given opportunities or blessings that we feel we should
rightly have. But remember, that we should rejoice when others receive blessings, rather than envying them (I Corinthians 12:26). And then, do we not break another cardinal Biblical admonition not to compare ourselves with anyone else (II Corinthians 10:12)?

These are tough challenges God places before us! We all need to learn to be abased and abound, and to do it gracefully and peacefully – without envying others in the process. The apostle Pau states: “…I have learned in whatever state (condition) I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, (margin: live humbly), and I know how to abound” (Philippians 4:11-12). Are we able to follow Paul’s  admonition, graceful and peacefully - without envying others in the process?

Another wrong attitude is to have hurt feelings or even bitterness towards others, especially a fellow brother or sister in the Church. A root of bitterness, if not rooted out, can destroy not only the person who displays it, but others can also be impacted: “Pursue peace with all people, and holines (through applying God’s laws), without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God: lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled” (Hebrews 12: 14-15). Is it advisable to displease God because of our unwise responses to the actions of others?

Be on guard against making accusations against individuals in the Church. Satan is called the “accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10) – so why do his dirty work for him! As we deal with each other, think deeply about the “more excellent way” described in I Corinthians chapter 13.

You will probably add to the short list of wrong attitudes mentioned above, and think about examples in the Bible. The main example that probably comes to mind is Satan, who originally as a superarchangel led one third of the angels in rebellion against God. He began to consider himself greater and more important than God. Now as the god of this world, he subtly sways people into wrong attitudes of rebellion against God and His laws, promoting false values and perversions of minds – supporting any action that is contrary to the will of God. Then there was Cain who became envious and hostile against his brother Abel, and this attitude of resentment led him to murder Abel. Next, he lies to God when asked about the whereabouts of his brother. End result? He is labelled a murderer and a liar. These events all began with a wrong attitude!

The kind of attitude we should all strive to cultivate as part of our characters is described in Isaiah 66:2: “But on this one will I look: on him who is poor (humble, lowly of mind) and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.” Such a person is not proud or haughty, but teachable, childlike,
approachable (Matthew 18:3-4), deeply respectful of God, His laws and His government.

Brethren, let’s continue to run with patience the race that is set before us. It is not my intention to set dates, but it appears likely that we are getting close to the end of our Christian marathon. Continue to be the loving, caring and God - centred people.

Our Father is delighted when you are faithful and loyal to Him. Please continue to cherish and cultivate this godly attitude of mind.

Sincerely, In brotherly love.

Andre Van Belkum