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Grinnin’ Down Bears

According to legend, Davy Crockett, without a weapon, subdued a bear. Asked how he did it, he replied that he just "grinned the bear down."

Ask ministers what their biggest dilemma is, and they'll likely say it's problem people in the church, our equivalent of hungry bears. I've made two big mistakes with the bears in my ministry.

My first inclination has been to fight it out with my critics. I've stood foursquare for truth, defended my ground, proved my case-and lost the fight. I won the war of words, but with things never again the same in the relationship, it wasn't much of a victory.

I've also tried a second tactic: apologizing when I didn't think I was wrong. That made for peace, but I felt ravaged inside afterward. I wanted to fight and felt like a wimp for giving in.

Fortunately, my years in the ministry have helped me discover a more satisfying third option. In this approach I neither fight aggressively nor passively submit to a clawing; instead, I grin the bear down.

From Issue:Winter 1989: Crisis
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