Sometimes I feel sorry for preachers. They are the easiest people in the world to shoot down because their position as moral leader, guardian, and teacher, elevates them to a level where they almost cannot afford to fail, yet because they are human they screw up and make a mess of things the same as anyone else.
Last Friday an ordained pastor of a church I once attended made something of a fool of herself when she ran out of the birthday party of a mutual friend in an unnecessarily dramatic fashion due to my arrival. Our paths briefly crossed 14 years ago and for reasons that I won’t bore you with here, she managed to develop an intense disliking for me.
I don’t blame her for not liking me, after all, everyone is entitled to their opinions, and our views about her church (The Wirral Christian Centre), which I once attended, are quite different. However, I had hoped that time might have mellowed the newly ordained Pastor and that despite our very different opinions we could politely avoid any kind of friction at our friend’s birthday, but alas it wasn’t to be. Within a week of preaching about forgiveness the pastor had already failed to live up to her own sermon. She had, in effect, fallen at the first furlong.
While I could be angry at her for being so apparently hypocritical, I am in truth just sad that she couldn’t find it in herself or her faith to act in a more ‘Christian‘ way; if not for me, for our mutual friend, his other guests, and for those of her church who had to witness the way she fumbled the situation. Christians often like to ask “What would Jesus do?” and given the chance I would put that question to her right now too.
Make no mistake though, I do understand that it must be hard to be a preacher. Failure to live up to the words that you preach is not just a possibility, it’s surely something of a certainty. To execute the role of preacher successfully one must be able to draw on gigantic reserves of humility, something that is surely difficult to do for someone who is used to commanding a crowd and leading a congregation.
Sadly the pastor involved has chosen not to apologize for her behavior, and has instead allowed our mutual friend, the host, to come under fire for inviting me in the first place. That’s a shame though because I had hoped that despite her initial gaff, the pastor would fix the situation with a quick apology to the host allowing everyone to move on and forget about it.
Maybe the hardest thing of all, for someone in the role of preacher and moral leader, is to remain truthful about their own failings. Allowing yourself to be judged by those whom you are charged with guiding might very well take the biggest leap of faith yet.
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