The following article (reprinted by permission from its author) flows freely from the heart of a man of God who experienced a personal Gethsemane, a Jonah-In-The-Belly-Of-The-Deep experience… and lived to tell about it! Must reading for any serious saint of God. This is a vivid picture of the kind of humility that Heaven welcomes… to say nothing of producing peaceful, trusting, and lifetime saints of the rarest breed. Pray as you read! (Pastor DEH2)
I Was Right, But I Was Wrong
–John Knott Sr.
This testimony, given at the close of a powerful Sunday night service, had a dramatic impact on the church. That others may likewise be blessed, I asked Brother Knott to commit it to paper. Not meant to justify ministerial shortcoming, it is as a sober reminder that preachers are, after all, just human. — Elder D. E. Haymon
My pastor did me wrong! It was not a misunderstanding; he just did me wrong!
I am of the persuasion that God put me in my church. God gave me a pastor, and I can’t be saved without him. When my pastor talks, teaches, or preaches, it is what God wants me to hear. If it offends, so be it.
My pastor can’t give me bad advice. The Bible instructs us to “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls.” Therefore, God is obligated, by His own Word, to make good anything my pastor tells me. If I am pleasing God with my walk, and have submitted everything to Him, I have this assurance.
Yet, my pastor did me wrong. This so affected me that over a three-year period I struggled for my very spiritual existence. My worship, prayer life, honor for the Word, relationships within the church—all was affected.
My wife said, “Just forgive him and move on with your life.” Yes, I forgave him, but why did he do it? It clawed at my mind every church service. During this time I lost my business, then started a new one, which consumed all my savings and equity—it became a terrible struggle. On top of all of this, I started having trouble working in my shop. I’m sure you’ve experience it. You walk into another room to get something but when you get there you can’t remember what it was you wanted to do or get. Or, you lay something down and 30 seconds later you can’t find it. Some of it may be attributed to age and human behavior. But, for me, it became ridiculous. Two hours out of eight I was searching for tools, trying to remember what it was I wanted.
One night, during service the Lord spoke to me and said, “Do you want me to stop?” I knew exactly what He meant. I said, “No Lord, whatever it takes, do it.” During the following two years the Lord repeated that same question twice. Both times I answered as at first.
I soon realized there was not a chance of unraveling the rat’s nest of reasoning about the problem in my mind, and that my only hope of recovery was repentance. I began to pray in earnest for God to grant me repentance, of right—being which seems an almost insurmountable paradox in itself.
During this time I gave two testimonies during testimony service which reflected my thoughts. I include them here because I think they contain a basic truth that can help anyone in a similar situation.
The legend of the Gordian Knot: The city of Gordia was founded by a man named Gordia. As his death drew near, he tied his most prized possession, his chariot, to a post on the city square with this statement, “The man who can untie this knot is the conqueror of the world.” Over the ensuing years many a man unsuccessfully tried to untie the Knot. Then, the army of Alexander the Great came to the city. The city fathers sent word to Alexander that they would surrender without a fight. But, that they might have the last word, they also sent along the challenge of the Gordian Knot. “Come, see if you are the conqueror of the world, and untie the knot.”
Alexander the Great rode into the city on his famous horse, and up to the post in the city square. He dismounted, drew his sword and slashed the knot to pieces with a single blow! He ordered the chariot to be added to his personal loot, and rode off. He knew he was the conqueror of the world and had no need to play their game.
As saints of the most High God, we are conquerors of the world, the flesh, and the devil. We have no business playing Satan’s game! He taunts, “Can you untie this problem?” Knowing we have to overcome, we’re tempted to keep working at it. But, what we must do is simply unsheathe the sword of repentance, slash that knot , add it to the loot of our victories over Satan and ride on!
I now had the revelation of what I had to do. But, not how to do it. This would require “Godly sorrow.” Not just, “I’m sorry.”
Then another revelation came, hence the next testimony: Three Keys were given Peter at Pentecost. Jesus had told him, “I will give you the Keys to the kingdom of Heaven and whatever you do with them I’ll back it up” (obviously paraphrased). On the day of Pentecost, Peter gave these keys away. One key, “The Gift of the Holy Ghost”, he gave back to Heaven. The second key “The remission of sins,” he gave to the church. The third key, “Godly Sorrow” (repentance*), he gave to man. As long as we remain on earth man has but one key. It works for both, our defense, and offense. Repentance is the key that unlocks every door! It has never failed to get the job done. It is the first, last and only key we will ever use or need!
On July 27, 1990, during our church’s annual Bible Conference, I came home from work, having just spent 8 hours doing 2 hour’s work. I gave up. There was no need for me to return to work as I was unable to perform the simplest task. I was a mental basket case. Late getting home, I walked in as the family was walking out to go to church. Seeing I was depressed, as she passed by, my wife said, “I love you.” I couldn’t return the customary, “I love you, too.” When the door closed, I went to the basement and cried, asking God for help. In a few moments I recognized God was opening the door—granting me a place of repentance! I had no trouble telling God I was sorry for being right because in the agony of repentance all of our right and good becomes filthy in our own sight.
I prayed through to divine victory and felt great, but when I looked up to the ceiling I saw that great tangled knot of reason and again asked God, “Why?” and His response was immediate. “Bro. Haymon is My prophet and, you were not angry at him, you were mad at Me!”
When that last word was spoken my mind became clear and the vision of that knot vanished, and I have never once been troubled by it again. How can you be troubled by something that doesn’t exist?
The thing that brought me through was the God given revelation by the preached word of God that I couldn’t be saved without a pastor and if Satan ever gets you crossways with your pastor he’s got you. The thing I have cherished and guarded most in my walk with God is my relationship with my pastor.
It seems so impossible now, but Satan was blinding me to the fact that, if he had succeeded in robbing me of confidence and trust in my pastor, it would have been cutting the ground right from under my own feet!
You want to know how my pastor did me wrong, eh? It is totally beside the point. Not even my pastor knows. What truly matters is, “I was right, but I was wrong!”
Obviously you miss the point, read it again, “Bro. Haymon is My prophet and, you were not angry at him, you were mad at Me!” Can God do you wrong? Of course not! God was just after my pride and got it good (talk about “Diehard”) pride dies hard!
*For the Biblical definition of repentance see II Corinthians 7: 8-11.