I was encouaraged by this quote. In the book Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching, Pastor John Piper writes,
It is true that we must be bold in the pulpit and afraid of no man but courageous as we contend for the truth. But it is just as true that our boldness must be a brokenhearted boldness, that our courage must be a contrite and lowly courage, and that we must be tender contenders for the truth. If we are brash and harsh and cocky and clever, we may win a hearing with angry and pugnacious people, but we will drive away those who suffer (2 Cor 1:4).
Having preached a couple of sermons recently about different kinds of suffering (Psalms 4 and 73), this was a good reminder to me. I saw it on a friend’s website (Expository Thoughts). Our suffering is aimed at producing Christlike character in us, and it is true that we often sin in the midst of our suffering. A shepherd can’t overlook how we often “sin in our suffering,” but we aren’t to break off the battered reed, or snuff out the smoldering wick either (Matthew 12:20). Christlike ministry to the hurting is a challenging task indeed. We love you, and hope the Word and Spirit are ministering to your hearts.