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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Arrogant Pastor?

Dear Victorious,

I've read your blogs about pastors and their responsibilities. My pastor seems to be some sort of Jekyl and Hyde character. One day he's super-friendly. The next day he can totally ignore you. This is the third church I've been to in as many years, and they all seem to act the same. Isn't this just arrogance on his part?

Fed Up

Dear Fed Up,

It is interesting to hear regular church-goers talk about their pastor(s). Typically we hear words of love and admiration ... or words of disapproval and disgust. I suppose it is a matter of perspective. The only problem with that is that perspectives don't always reflect truth. In fact, in my experience personal perspectives tend to be formed outside of truth. That's when we need truth to pull them back into reality.

So what we need to do here is consider what is true. Is your pastor arrogant? Is your pastor loving? Could both be true at the same time? I'm sure we could have a lively discussion with a bunch of people and get as many different answers as there are people in the discussion! But I think it may be more worthwhile to try to see the individual God's way. In other words, when God looks at your pastor, what does He see?

Frankly, I want to see the world --- and everyone in it, from God's perspective and not my own. My own perspective, or my own understanding, has always proven to be very flawed. Moreover, it is very deceptive. So just because I think something is true, experience has taught me that it more likely not to be true. Indeed, something entirely different could be true.

Few of us can comprehend the live of a pastor. What goes on in his head? What goes on in his life? What are his hurts? What are his struggles? Where are his victories? Just because I come to church every Sunday expecting to be inspired by his wisdom doesn't mean that he comes to church automatically ready to bless me. Life has its ups and downs, and this is as true for pastors as it is for anyone else.

So if one day you perceive your pastor to be friendly, and the next day you perceive him to be arrogant or indifferent, I would ask myself some questions:

Do I love my pastor? If so, how much do I love him? Is it a sacrificial love?
What do I expect from my pastor? How do I react when he doesn't meet my expectations?
What do others expect from my pastor? How much of a burden are those expectations?
Do I believe that my pastor truly cares about me? How do I know that he does or doesn't?
Do the other people in my life that love me ever behave in less than loving ways?
Do I ever behave in less than loving ways toward the people I care most about?

The point of these questions is to examine your motives. Is it possible that bitterness or resentment are creeping into your relationship with your pastor? What if you pastor has indeed offended you? Are you willing to forgive him?

One thing I've learned about forgiveness is that I can offer it to someone without their consent. So even if your pastor were arrogant, wouldn't you want to forgive him? Wouldn't you want to be like the God you claim to worship an the Christ you try to emulate by extending him grace?

If you feel separated from your pastor, pray for him. Be earnest and sincere in those prayers. And perhaps, ask God to show you how to love this man who has somehow caused you to identify yourself as fed up!

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