That low-down dirty, stinkin’ pastor

Posted: August 10, 2008 in Soul Food

Just the other day I got an e-mail from a friend that my wife and I have known for years. The three of us were a part of the same ministry in which we were among the small group of founding members. After doing some general catching up, I asked her if she was still part of that same ministry today. She told me that she left a few years ago, but has had a very difficult time healing from the mess that she endured under that ministry. There are numbers of people today I can easily point to who are still having a difficult time dealing with how they were kicked to the curb by that ministry after all the years they gave of themselves to build up that work in the first place.

When my family and I moved out here to California, we got involved in another church that started well, but in the end we found ourselves again running for our lives. In both of these ministries, my wife and I served in some leadership capacity, so we were privy to a lot of information that many parishioners didn’t know. Some of the things we either heard or saw was enough to make me blush (and I have dark skin). Needless to say that after spending a good part of our lives being deeply involved in the church, we became disillusioned and decided to take long sabbatical from organized church.

For me, it took some time for the Lord to work out the bitterness I had towards church folks who I felt wronged me and my family. This included professing (saying with my mouth) that I forgive them. Now this is where the Lord has me:

Luke 6:27-36

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. “Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. “Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. “If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. “If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

The one thing I had to remember was the fact that these pastors who ended up wronging my family did not start off that way (I’ve only mentioned two of them in this post). While the Lord was ultimately responsible for me coming into salvation, He used the efforts of these men to bring me into salvation through Jesus Christ. Many of these men and women prayed for me and took time to teach me the word. At no time did I ever have it all together, yet they gave of themselves for me and my family. Now that these church leaders find themselves in the same mess they used to preach so hard against, I find myself at a very interesting crossroad. Do I expose these church leaders for the frauds that they have become (under the guise of warning other Christians when we all know it is Christianized gossip—talk about an oxymoron) or do I commit to pray for these wayward leaders just as they once did for me?

I remember when the news regarding Juanita Bynum’s bad marriage began to hit the airwaves how folks (Christian folks who in many cases were helped by her ministry at one time) were quick to call them out and publicly castrate them in order to prove to others that while they were Christians, they weren’t THAT bad. Guess what? We ALL deserve hell.

For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

and…

We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind. (Isaiah 64:6)

This is how it reads in the Message Bible:

We’re all sin-infected, sin-contaminated. Our best efforts are grease-stained rags.

To God, my best efforts to convince you that I am somehow better than these low-down dirty, stinkin’ pastors is just as rank and foul as their exposed sin. The Bible also reminds us that…

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. (Romans 3:23-24)

So should Christians continue to call out leaders who have given themselves to deception and manipulation? By all means. Should Christians pray for them just as Christ commanded us to do? Absolutely yes. The question now is how much time are we spending with the former question vs. the latter.

God help me.

Related: Should Fallen Pastors Be Restored To Leadership?

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Comments
  1. Zack says:

    I did a church post today as well, Big D. This is a very relevant issue to many saints. It is hard to separate the messenger from the message- especially when that messenger is a two-faced one.

    Pastors ARE human just like every one else, but that does not give them the right to abuse the benefit of the doubt.

    My brother’s pastor is a great preacher, but a rather mean-spirited man behind closed doors. What makes it worse it that his wife tries to hang out with the pastor’s family to get closer to them. They closer he and his wife have gotten, the more they see that Pastor S.T. is not the nicest guy. That hasn’t swayed my sister-in-law though. She acts like she can’t see it.

    But the lesson is to let pastors have their own friends- OUTSIDE of the congregation. Mind you, my late grandfather was a pastor. So, I’m not knocking pastors. I am just challenging them to be better men after the benediction has been given.

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