Your Pastor is a Sinner

If you believe your pastor has sinned against you (and if he hasn’t he may well at some point) then please consider the following

As I mentioned above, I am referring here to the sorts of sins that are common to God’s people. Sins such as sexual abuse, adultery, financial improprieties, and other clearly disqualifying sins must be dealt with as matters of church discipline and perhaps civil justice. If you know of scandalous sins or illegal behavior on the part of your pastor then you ought to make the elders of your church aware.

 

It sounds obvious I’m sure to say that your pastor sins. The Scriptures demand such recognition after all. And certainly experience confirms that no pastor has escaped the curse of original sin.

Yet I wonder if we have become intermittent Pelagians expecting that original sin ought to skip over pastors. Certainly I am a bit conflicted as I write this since I am a pastor. That is, I do not wish to somehow justify my sins or the sins of any other pastor. Nevertheless it seems that when a pastor sins in ways that are common to most regenerate people the response is shock and outrage. Christians are often scandalized when they observe in their pastors some of the very sins they rationalize away in their own lives.

So let us be perfectly clear: pastors are sinners. They can be selfish at times. They can get their feelings hurt and sulk. It has been reported that pastors from time-to-time can become angry. Pastors are capable of being insensitive or irritable. Out of a sinful desire to please others pastors can neglect the needs of their own families. Out of that same people-pleasing desire it is not unusual for pastors to be insecure and sensitive to criticism. Sometimes pastors have conflicts with their wives, their children, their fellow pastors, and church members. Pastors struggle with anxiety and worry. Sometimes pastors will say or write something before they fully consider all the ways that their words may lack proper sensitivity. There are times when some pastors will procrastinate or even forget an important event.

That is only a partial list of course. But we must remember that the call to be above reproach (1 Timothy 3:1ff) which the pastor must take seriously is not an expectation for him to achieve sinless perfection in this life. Your pastor is now and will continue to be until the day he dies a man who sins.

If you believe your pastor has sinned against you (and if he hasn’t he may well at some point) then please consider the following:

1. Assume the best rather than the worst.

You owe this to all your brothers and sisters in Christ. How often, when offended, do you consider that perhaps you have erred in your interpretation of events? How often do you consider the possibility that you misunderstood, misread or judged too harshly? When you feel offended your knee-jerk reaction ought to be to assume the best, even about your pastor.

2. Consider your own sins and frailties.

You are your pastor’s fellow sinner. You possess similar frailties and blind spots. Are you as open to correction as you hope your pastor to be? Have you given him the same compassion that you yourself hope to receive? One helpful rule of thumb for entering into any conversation about someone else’s sin is to first reckon yourself to be the worst sinner you know.

Read More