Sacrificing for Your Beliefs

Carlton Pearson was born to a life of the ministry. He went to college at Oral Roberts University and was personally mentored by Oral Roberts. He became an associate evangelist in the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association when he graduated.

He later formed his own church and had a TV show where he reached out to as many as one million people. He was only one of two African Americans to have a TV show. His home church had regular attendance of 6,000 parishioners – black and white. He was also a spiritual advisor to Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Reverend Pearson’s ministerial empire was lost when he had an epiphany upon seeing a TV program on the genocide in Rwanda. According to the religious doctrine that Reverend Pearson subscribed to, the non-Christian Rwandans were going to Hell. Reverend Pearson was especially disturbed by the image of Rwandan children going to Hell.

When Reverend Pearson expressed his doubts from the pulpit, his congregation abandoned him. Later the Bishops of his ministerial association said that his beliefs were heresy.

Reverend Pearson continued his ministerial career but to a reduced audience. He continues to advocate for punishment after death to be “remedial and corrective rather than just punishment.”

In spite of one’s religious beliefs, we have to admire Reverend Pearson for what he sacrificed to gain acceptance for what he believed in. How often do we give up on our ideas because others reject them? Gaining acceptance for one’s ideas is tough but a critical leadership trait.

Our belief in others also requires an acceptance that they will fulfil our reason for believing in them. That can be a difficult acceptance at times. But when your ideas or your beliefs in others are accepted, there is no greater joy.

Just imagine how challenging it is to continue your beliefs when others do not accept them? Just imagine how the process of gaining acceptance makes our beliefs that much stronger? Just imagine how few people are willing to challenge dogma and say: “this is what I believe.”

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“Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your inner voice.” – Steve Jobs

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