The title and content of this post may seem a little familiar to some of you, for it was posted for a few hours several months back. I am re-posting it today as I am confident its message is just as true today and is just as necessary.
We have all seen the stories on television and in the news. Bold headlines scream that Pastor (blank) has had a moral lapse, been unfaithful to his wife, defrauded the church, misappropriated funds, or had some other kind of personal failure.
Somewhere along the line, long before it got to be above the fold in the newspaper or headline news someone knew enough about the situation to have put a stop to it and did nothing meaningful about it. It could have been those who served with him- his faithful Deacons, fellow Elders, or Church Administrator, or perhaps a trusted friend or adviser who knew enough to tell him he was wrong and didn't.
When church leaders fail it is often because they have built for themselves a coalition of "yes men" who are more in love with their Pastor than their Lord. Loyalty to the Pastor becomes more important than upholding those important commands of Paul to Timothy. These leaders are deficient and derelict in their duties and obligation to practice loving one another.
Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. Romans (NKJV)
" but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews (NKJV)
Leaders fail when their hearts become hardened to their own personal sin. When they come to believe that they owe no man an apology nor confession of sin. They will accept no rebuke and see no plank in their own eye.
Leaders fail when Matthew 18 ceases to apply to them, and only applies to those in their congregations. Peacemaking is non-existent - at least as it applies to them.
In short, leaders fail when the sin of PRIDE takes up residence in their heart. When Pride comes to own them despite their aura of humble and gentle humility. Pride is ugly and insidious and it takes over the life of the man or woman who welcomes it as a matter of self-deception- believing that all they teach and all they preach has little to do with their own sinful heart.
The pain and division this brings is played out in our churches on a continual basis. People discover the truth about their sainted Pastor, become terribly disillusioned and leave the church. Some leave for good, others go to a new location and hope the cycle does not repeat. Sadly, it does, over and over again until there is no willingness or desire to go to church anymore.
I urge you brothers and sisters, uproot pride from your hearts. Begin examining yourselves and confess and repent of the pride that lurks there! Be strong men and women of God who are more concerned with your Pastor's righteousness and holiness than his praise and acceptance. Stand for what is right and true and honors and glorifies God.
For is it Him we serve and Him we must obey and Him we seek to please and glorify.
If the day ever comes that your pastor cannot accept godly and constructive criticism from his flock, or if the day ever comes that rules no longer apply to the Shepherd that apply to the sheep, and your concern for the well-being of his soul is interpreted to be attacking, and he refuses to prayerfully consider what you say...he may be headed for a fall.