Pastors Are People Too

©iStock.com/Kovalvs

©iStock.com/Kovalvs

Who has the power to shake you to your core?

When I was young, I noticed that my mom always shooed us kids outside when one particular woman from the church came visiting. Naturally, this made me curious. What did they talk about—some fascinating adult topic that kids weren’t supposed to hear?

So one day I sneaked close to the screen door, staying out of sight but within earshot. The woman was seated at the dining table with my mom, a cup of coffee in front of her. And she was absolutely excoriating one of the church elders, reporting on some ghastly sin he had supposedly committed.

My mother hates gossip and repeatedly tried to cut the lady off, but she wasn’t having much luck. When the woman finally took a breath, my mom tried to steer the conversation in another direction. The woman exclaimed rather indignantly, “Margie! Didn’t you hear? Doesn’t this just make you wonder? Doesn’t it shake your faith in him … in the church … even in God?”

Now you should know that my mom was actually quite a new Christian at this time. What’s more, the woman challenging her was one of the so-called pillars of the church. Nevertheless, my mom replied at once, “Oh, no—not at all! My faith isn’t based on what Elder — does. It’s based on Jesus and what He’s done.”

I’ve never forgotten that simple statement. Church pillars, celebrities, even pastors are just people. They make mistakes. They may be hypocritical. Some may even be full-time hypocrites. And in this age of cameras everywhere, social media, and TMZ, mistakes are less likely than ever to be successfully covered up.

So if we look to these people as models of behavior, we will be disappointed. If we look to them to ground our faith, we may even shaken. But if Christ is our model—if we are grounded in him—the mistakes of others can’t shake our faith.

“There can be no other foundation than the one already laid: I mean Jesus Christ himself” 1 Corinthians 3:11, REB.

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