When Leaders Get It Wrong – The Road to Recovery
Are you feeling completely inadequate as a pastor or ministry leader? Good. We should. Let’s be honest… It’s only by the grace of God that we are in ministry at all; and without His leading and guidance on our journey as leaders, we would be completely lost.
So, I’ve seen a lot of articles written by pastors and ministry leaders, and I think there is something to glean from most of them…even if I do not agree with most of the content or purpose of the article. However, I often get frustrated with articles that attempt to make some things that are done in ministry by pastors and ministry leaders “okay” when they, and we, know ( deep down somewhere) they are not okay. Quite often what is represented is contrary to what scripture teaches, and puts them in a position of being above the law of God and the clear teaching of scripture.
I was however, encouraged recently by an article written by a pastor who had the courage to admit his failures and to ask forgiveness of those he had offended. He realized how far off base he had gotten and came back to the heart of ministry.
As Christians, we run into trouble when we begin to think of ourselves as good people. It is during those times when we think more of ourselves than we should, that we are most susceptible to sin… or the temptation to justify the sin in our life. We trivialize the sin; and in doing so, we trivialize price that was paid for our sin. We are fundamentally bad (dead) people who needed a perfect Savior to rescue us. We are not good people who needed a Savior to improve upon us.
When we have a realistic understanding of whose we are and who we are in Jesus Christ, it permeates every aspect of our lives and our relationships. If we wrong a friend, we eventually go back to them, talk through things, apologize, and mend the relationship because, as much as we hate to admit we are wrong, we (1) know an untended hurt can fester, (2) do not want a feud to continue, (3) have a greater desire to mend the relationship than feel justified/right, and (4) most importantly, God calls us to do so.
Unlike most guys, or the perception toward most guys, I am okay with apologizing. Though it is almost never a fun experience, I admit that it has a profound effect on me. There are two things apologizing accomplishes:
- There is closure. Regardless of whether the relationship is repaired, I know I have done my part, and the relationship is in God’s hands.
- There is humility. Nothing like the need to supply a good apology to realize how much I need God… and how wrong I was about the extent to which I am a good person. Now I do not go around wearing a pin or ribbon that announces how good I believe myself to be; but we all have a tendency to let that “goodness / self-righteousness” meter run a bit high now and then.
Sometimes, we need to strip the titles away. When we try to find satisfaction and value in being the best pastor, ministry leader, parent, brother, friend…etc, then we are going to fall short. When we find satisfaction in Christ, and we are living the way God calls us to live in all aspects of our life, regardless of our title, then we will find our peace and contentment. After all, when we get to heaven, we want to hear ” Well done good and faithful servant” and not the words spoken by Jesus in Matt 6 to the Pharisees, whom He called hypocrites, in which he told them they have, by their actions, already received their reward in full.
Dr. Ron Fraser